UVM Student Cited in 'Racist and Threatening Language' Case | Off Message

UVM Student Cited in 'Racist and Threatening Language' Case


The University of Vermont - SALLY MCCAY
  • Sally McCay
  • The University of Vermont
University of Vermont police cited student Wesley Richter on Thursday for disorderly conduct after he was allegedly overheard on campus using "explicitly racist and threatening language directed toward African Americans," the university said in a statement.

News of the citation came three days after a university administrator emailed the UVM community about the incident. Someone reportedly overheard Richter, 20, making the comments on a phone call. He also allegedly made disparaging remarks about UVM's diversity initiatives.

"Such detestable remarks and threats directed to any group or individual are antithetical to our values and commitment to work toward racial equality and greater inclusion," wrote Annie Stevens, a vice provost for student affairs.

Student groups last week marched to UVM president Tom Sullivan's office in the Waterman building and pressed the administration to address diversity issues. Sullivan responded to the demands and met with some of the students.

One of the student organizers, Angelica Crespo, described Richter's alleged conduct as a "lash out" against those demands. "This is racism on campus," said the senior, who is also the cofounder of the Womyn of Color Coalition.

UVM police said it "conducted a thorough investigation and threat assessment" and "found no information of an imminent threat to public safety."

"If there had been an imminent threat of harm to our community or to individuals, including any indications of weapons involved, additional steps and safeguards would have been initiated," UVM Police Chief Lianne Tuomey said in a statement.

Crespo said that her peers have been reminding one another to remain vigilant and to walk in pairs. There are also plans to organize an active shooter training in conjunction with the Mosaic Center for Students of Color, she added.

She noted that there has been an increased security presence at the MCSC space on campus. Police will also staff Saturday's Soul Food Social, an annual event organized by the Black Student Union, she said.

The student groups are expected to counter Sullivan's response to their demands. "We don't feel satisfied," Crespo said.