James Madison Student Admits Racial Harassment of Va. Tech Student

James Madison Student Admits Racial Harassment of Va. Tech Student


A James Madison University student admitted in a court document that he made racist threats to a student at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Karl Harris, a JMU freshman, signed a U.S. District Court pretrial diversion agreement admitting he wrote a message on the residence hall door of a female Virginia Tech student that included the phrase, “you deserve to be lynched.”

By signing the agreement Monday, Harris avoided prosecution on a charge that he violated the student’s civil rights.

The charges will be dismissed if he follows certain requirements over the next 18 months, including undergoing anger management, diversity training and an alcohol treatment program. He cannot contact the student or go onto Tech’s campus.

According to a statement he signed, Harris and three other students rode on an elevator in the early morning hours of Nov. 13 with a female Tech student whose parents are from Bangladesh.

The men harassed her for more than half an hour, standing in her way when she tried to use the residence hall bathroom and knocking on her door, the statement said.

About 3:30 a.m., Harris wrote the message on a dry erase board on her door and signed it, “Love, Karl.”

The woman called campus police, who detained Harris. U.S. Attorney John Brownlee was then contacted, and referred the case to the FBI as a civil rights violation.

JMU spokeswoman Cindy Mooy says the university is reviewing the matter and has not taken disciplinary action against Harris.

No other students involved in the incident face criminal prosecution.

— Associated Press

© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com