Prosecutors in California have charged three white college students with misdemeanor hate crime and battery after they allegedly tormenting their black roommate.
The three freshmen students have been suspended from San Jose State University, university officials said Thursday.
Prosecutors say the students nicknamed their black roommate “three-fifths,” a reference to how slaves were once counted as three-fifths of a person in the United States, the San Jose Mercury News reports. They later called him “fraction” after he objected. The students also allegedly clasped a bicycle lock around the student’s neck and told him they lost the key.
“They barricaded him in his room with furniture, they stole his shoes, they created a living environment that was full of hate,” Deputy District Attorney Erin West told an ABC affiliate. Authorities said they found hate-symbols including a swastika and a Confederate flag throughout the freshman dorm suite they shared.
On Thursday, students at the school rallied in outrage on the campus. The black student is reportedly still living on campus.