College apologizes after Native American students' visit is sidelined by police


Two teenage brothers had traveled from New Mexico for the tour at Colorado State University (CSU) on Monday when a parent called the authorities on them, saying they were quiet and "creepy" and "really stand out".

Two native American brothers, Thomas Kanewakeron Gray, 19, and Lloyd Skanahwati Gray, 17, had always dreamt of studying at the school and with campus tours being held, they managed to scrape together enough money to pay for the seven-hour trip from their family's home in Santa Cruz, New Mexico, to Fort Collins, Colorado.

In a Facebook post, she wrote that during the tour, which the two teenagers had booked online, a parent in the group "got nervous" and called campus police on them because they were being "shy and quiet" and not "actively participating in the tour banter". But their time was cut short when police pulled them from the campus tour for questioning. Their tour group had moved on.

In the university's statement that was signed by three vice presidents - from the departments of enrollment, diversity and student affairs - the school said, "This incident is sad and frustrating from almost every angle, particularly the experience of two students who were here to see if this was a good fit for them as an institution".

The university says it has reached out to the family but the teens' mother says they're not ready to respond yet.

The university says it deeply regrets the brothers' "unwelcoming and concerning experience".

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It was obvious that the mother on the tour had "profiled" her sons, Lorraine said, adding that she wished police and the guide had quickly resolved the situation without them missing the rest of the tour.

The older brother is now a student at Northern New Mexico College in Espanola, and the younger brother is a high school senior at Santa Fe Indian School.

"The fact that these two students felt unwelcome on our campus while here as visitors runs counter to our principles of community and the goals and aspirations of the CSU Police Department, even as they are obligated to respond to an individual's concern about public safety", the letter said.

She said her sons were frisked by police and questioned before being released. "That made them suspicious", their mother told the Denver Post. The Office of Admissions, Office of the VP for Diversity, Native American Cultural Center, and the CSUPD all are meeting to review how such an incident can be avoided or more appropriately handled in the future.

Nineteen-year-old Thomas Kanewakeron Gray says he and his 17-year-old brother were shocked when they were removed from the tour. In April, two young black men ended up in handcuffs after the manager of a Philadelphia Starbucks called the police.

"I think it's pretty discriminatory", Thomas, a current student at Northern New Mexico College who had been thinking about transferring to CSU, told the Associated Press. The younger brother is a high school senior at Santa Fe Indian School. "It's shameful on so many levels". "They missed a day of school for this tour, and then for it to not even be completed".