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Two Native American brothers were interrupted by police officers while on a tour visiting Colorado State University after a mother participating in the tour called the cops and claimed they made her “nervous,” according to CNN.
The university’s police later released audio of the 911 call where the mother reports 19-year-old Thomas Kanewakeron Gray and 17-year-old Lloyd Skanahwati Gray. "There are two young men that joined our tour that weren't part of our tour," the unidentified mother told the dispatcher. "They're not—definitely not —a part of the tour."
The brothers borrowed their mother’s car and drove seven hours from New Mexico to Colorado to visit the school. "This was their dream school, and I wanted to give them that opportunity," their mother Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray told KOAT. They arrived late and quietly joined the tour.
The woman who notified police called the boys’ behavior "just really odd," and mentioned that they were wearing dark clothing with "weird symbolism or wording on it." "I think they're Hispanic, I believe," she said, when asked about their race. "One of them for sure. He said he's from Mexico."
"If it's nothing, I'm sorry," she said. "But it actually made me like feel sick and I've never felt like that."
The school also released footage of the officers' interaction with the Grays, who were pulled out of the tour as it continued on without them. After Lloyd provided the officers with an email he received after registering for the tour police let him go, but by then the tour was long gone. "It breaks my heart, because they didn't do anything to warrant that," the boys’ mother said. "They're walking on their own ancestors' land, so it breaks my heart."
Colorado State University President Tony Frank released a statement claiming the university is trying to reach out to the family in order to reimburse them for travel expenses. "The very idea that someone—anyone—might 'look' like they don't belong on a CSU Admissions tour is anathema," Frank said. “And if you're uncomfortable with a diverse and inclusive academic environment, then you probably have a better fit elsewhere."
People have criticized both the woman and the university for this incident of racial profiling, which comes just weeks after two men were arrested for sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks while black. "This incident is sad and frustrating from nearly every angle, particularly the experience of two students who were here to see if this was a good fit for them as an institution," school officials said.
The brothers are now unsure of how they feel about attending CSU.