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Students Charged in Graffiti Case No Longer at Ohio School

CINCINNATI — Two Miami University freshmen students charged in connection with offensive graffiti in a residential hall are no longer enrolled at the school, according to the university.

University spokeswoman Claire Wagner said Wednesday evening that William Armour and Samir Lal are no longer enrolled. She referred requests for comment to university President David Hodge’s earlier statement this week about the graffiti.

Hodge called the graffiti spotted Saturday on an information board as “profane, racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic.”

The president expressed disappointment that any students would behave in “such a reprehensible way” and apparently intend to offend and hurt others. He urged the university community to stand together to confront such behavior.

William Armour had said in an “open letter to Miami University” also sent to The Associated Press that he didn’t live up to the school’s ethics code and felt that his continued presence on campus would be a distraction that brings unwanted media attention to the school. Student Samir Lal had said Wednesday by email that he apologized and also would withdraw.

“I was always taught that, when you make a mistake, you need to own it, apologize and try to make it right,” Armour’s statement said. He said the “really bad decisions” he made last Saturday night aren’t a true reflection of his character, and that he is “profoundly sorry for them.”

Armour claims he wrote only one statement on the hall information board, and that he isn’t “a racist or a bigot.” He apologized for writing “offensive, lewd and disrespectful” words for not standing up to bigotry and discrimination, “be it gender, sexual, religious or racial.”

Lal said in an email from his university account that he apologized for lack of judgment.

“As a person of color myself, I understand the harm words like those used carry and deeply regret writing them on the board. There was no ill intent against any particular group of people, I simply was not thinking and behaved irresponsibly,” he wrote.

Armour and Lal, both 19, still face misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and are due in court April 16. Armour’s attorney Gus Lazares said he was just getting into the case and there was little more to be said at this point; Lal didn’t indicate whether he had an attorney. The students had also faced university disciplinary proceedings.

Hodge has said that two apparently unrelated recent cases of other offensive graffiti at two Miami fraternities were being investigated.

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