Ethnic taunts, threat sparked altercation

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District police and student affairs administrators gather information on an incident in Oppenheimer Wednesday.  Photo by Riley Stephens

District police and college officials gather information on an incident in Oppenheimer Sept. 26. Photo by Riley Stephens

By FAITH DUARTE

fduarte3@student.alamo.edu 

The verbal altercation in Oppenheimer Academic Center Sept. 26, which led to the suspension of one student and the probation of another, began when a student threatened two students Sept. 24 because of their Iranian descent.

This information was provided in highly redacted incident reports released by the Alamo Colleges department of public safety Nov. 2 and Nov. 5.

College officials had provided no details of the incident, which attracted 10 police officers, including the police chief, and three student affairs administrators, while an investigation was conducted.

According to a Sept. 26 police report, a student threatened two students at about 11:15 a.m. Sept. 24 at the entrance to the first floor of the building.

One of the victims, a female, told police that she and the other student, her father, were leaving the building when they heard two female students and one male student taunting them about their Iranian descent.

One of the three students then threatened in Arabic to run over the two students, according to the report. The two students reported the incident later that afternoon.

The reporting officer informed the two students who reported the threat that a campus police officer could escort them between classes and asked them to notify campus police if the victims saw any of the three students.

According to a Sept. 28 redacted police report, four students harassed the two victims Sept. 26 in Oppenheimer while the father was calling campus police to identify the student who threatened them two days earlier.

At about 11:30 a.m., the reporting officer noticed a crowd gathering in the lobby was yelling at the group “in a foreign language.”

The father identified a male student as the aggressor, and the reporting officer then asked the male student to step outside to discuss the Sept. 24 incident.

While the male student refused to cooperate, the reporting officer said several individuals told him that the male student did not need to go outside.

The reporting officer then asked the male student and another male who accompanied the aggressor to go outside.

As the two students walked outside, two female students shouted at the reporting officer and told the two male students not to cooperate with police.

The female victim identified the two female students as the other students who accompanied the male student in the Sept. 24 incident.

The reporting officer told the two female students to go outside and accompany the male students and the police when a crowd walked toward the group while shouting. The reporting officer asked the crowd to stay inside the building and requested additional police units.

One of the female students said she could not talk to police “because of her culture” and two students attempted to leave the scene before an officer could get their information.

The reporting officer witnessed the growing crowd and requested backup units a second time.

About 10 officers responded to the scene, including Chief Don Adams.

Once all of the individuals were separated, the reporting officer wrote that the male aggressor said he did not threaten anybody and called the female victim a liar.

Once additional officers arrived at Oppenheimer, campus police and staff cleared the first floor and blocked entrances to everyone but students who had classes in the building.

Dr. Robert Vela, vice president of academic and student success; Manuel Flores, student conduct officer; and Emma Mendiola, dean of student affairs, also responded to the scene.

Participants were separated into three groups as officials attempted to determine what happened.

All names, including the names of the reporting officer or officers, were redacted from the reports.

Vela confirmed Oct. 25 that one student was ultimately suspended while another faced probation. The student who was suspended was already on probation from the Sept. 24 incident.

No criminal charges were filed.

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