Editor’s Note: This is a developing story. The content of this article might be upsetting to some readers. Resources for UR students include CAPS, at CAPS@richmond.edu or 804.289.8119 and UR’s Bias Incident Response.
The University of Richmond Police Department is investigating a Sept. 3 altercation between several students and a delivery driver in which a first-year student was filmed repeatedly punching and kicking the driver’s car and fighting the driver. The delivery driver pulled a gun as the student continued to taunt him.
One student reportedly used racist language against the driver during the incident that occurred behind Marsh Hall, UR President Kevin Hallock wrote in a Sept. 6 email to the campus community. No one other than law enforcement officials is allowed to carry firearms on campus, Hallock said.
“No student, staff, or faculty member or visitor should ever be confronted by offensive language, or hostile behavior or feel threatened on our campus,” Hallock said. “I am absolutely disgusted that anyone would use hateful language or engage in harmful conduct here.”
URPD issued a conduct referral in relation to a simple assault with racial bias and made an arrest in connection with a liquor law violation at 1:58 a.m. on Sept. 3 in the parking lot between Westhampton lake and Pitt Field, according to the crime log. URPD Maj. Eric Beatty said he could not reveal any additional information about the active investigation.
Conduct referrals are issued in response to violations of the standards of student conduct and handled through the deans’ offices, Beatty said. Richmond College Dean Joe Boehman declined The Collegian’s request for comment.
A video obtained by The Collegian shows first-year Alexander Unruh taunting the driver in the early hours of Saturday in the road behind Marsh Hall, a first-year dormitory. The driver attempted to get Unruh to back off by using pepper spray, the video shows. Then, Unruh runs up to the driver’s car, repeatedly punching and kicking it.
At one point, the video shows the driver pointing a gun at Unruh. The student filming the video can be heard shouting that there is a gun and others in the background can be heard shouting, “Alex, stop.”
Unruh said three of his friends and him kicked the driver’s car. He did not say the other students’ names. Unruh said he and his friends had been drinking alcohol.
“A couple of my buddies were just like, ‘Yo, like, get off our campus, like you're on the wrong road,’” Unruh said in an interview with The Collegian.
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The video also shows the driver and Unruh tussling on the ground.
Unruh said he stayed at the scene until officers from URPD arrived. URPD Maj. Eric Beatty said he could not reveal any information about the active investigation.
“I could have probably left the scene, but I waited for them because I felt pretty unjusted because this guy pulled a gun on me, so I was pretty scared,” he said.
Members of the Black Student Alliance raised concerns about racial slurs being reportedly used in the altercation with the delivery driver. Christian Herald, a sophomore and president of BSA, said she had seen the video and that the incident had caused a sense of fear among Black students.
“To see our classmates treat a person who looks like us with such vitriolic hatred and, you know, so willingly attack this man for literally just doing his job, is obviously something we’re not okay with,” Herald said.
Unruh denied using any racial slurs and said he had only called the driver “a pussy.”
“I know what I said, and it was not a racial slur,” he said.
Herald said UR officials should issue a response, compensate the driver and take disciplinary action against the student. BSA is developing an action plan in response to the incident, Herald said.
“It's just these repeated accounts of racism on this campus that makes me feel so uncomfortable and so unaccepted,” junior Jordan Jones said.
Hallock urged anyone with information about the incident to contact URPD Chief Dave McCoy at email@example.com or 804-289-8715.
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