LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall College are taking undisclosed disciplinary action against a student who allegedly threw an opened beer can at Afghan refugee children passing by an off-campus party.
Leigh Lindsay, owner of Fin Salon in Lancaster, called city police after a friend reported the incident in front of a college-approved party held at the “football leadership house” on Pine Street Saturday afternoon, Lancaster Online reports.
Neighborhood resident Jacob Zug told Lindsay they were walking behind a teenage Muslim girl wearing a hijab and her two younger brothers when s student on the third-floor landing threw an open beer can on the sidewalk in front of the kids, spraying beer on them.
“I was so mad,” said Lindsay, who also posted about the incident on Facebook.
City police contacted campus police, who responded to the party around 4:15 p.m. and closed it down.
F&M officials announced Wednesday they plan to take action against the student responsible, but allege the incident wasn’t racially motivated or malicious.
The college issued a statement claiming the student was trying to throw the can to a friend, and missed. The statement did not name the student, but said the can was allegedly unopened when it hit a fence post and burst near the children.
“Nobody outside the party was targeted,” F&M alleged in the statement. “This was students goofing around.”
Neighbors and witnesses, however, provided a different account, PennLive.com reports.
Zug told Lancaster Online that if the beer toss was unintentional, “it was a heck of a coincidence.”
“He wasn’t throwing it to a friend,” said Zug, who contends the children looked “sad and embarrassed” by the incident.
They simply kept walking, he said.
“If it was an accident, they should have apologized,” Lindsay said.
F&M officials contend in the statement that students were apologetic and “preparing to make a full and sincere apology.”
The alleged “hate crime” comes just weeks after a F&M student reported his off-campus residence was ransacked after he received multiple racially charge phone messages, CBS 21 reports.
“It’s upsetting to me that anyone in this community would be racist or offensive or violent towards another student. That seems outrageous, especially in this day and age,” F&M student Erin Hallenbeck told the site.
Hallenbeck said F&M issued an email alert to students about that incident Nov. 23, though it remains a mystery what, if anything, the college plans to do about it.
“It seems like they’re just alerting us. What is the next step, that’s unclear,” she said. “It seems very private with what they are going to do about it.”