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‘Something wrong was done’: Civil rights experts, lawyer explain racial implications of SFA incident

HOUSTON – Armed Stephen F. Austin State University police stormed into the dorm room of freshman Christin Evans in the middle of the night earlier this month. The experience was startling and scarring for the 17-year-old student from the Houston area.

Evans' family called the incident a racist set-up based on lies made to police by white students.

But on Wednesday, leaders at SFA in Nacogdoches, Texas said they don’t believe that’s the real story.

SFA police chief John Fields said there are 11 females involved: seven is white, three is Black and one is Hispanic.

“The evidence doesn’t lead to any racism. It’s more students doing stuff they shouldn’t be doing,” he said.

“My heart goes out to the innocent young lady the victim, in this case, this case of false reporting,” said SFA President Scott Gordon.

Civil rights lawyer Randall Kallinen is representing Evans and her family. He said the family is upset, and Christin is traumatized.

He said the students involved should not be on campus.

“This is a very serious matter and those students need to be expelled,” he said. “Basically said they are doing nothing, in other words, all 11 students who plotted against her and accused her of first-degree felony aggravated assault and had armed police officers show up at 3 a.m. in the morning to wake her up they get to stay on campus,” he said.

Kallinen said Evans is still rattled.

“She is not sleeping well. She’s kind of paranoid. She’s depressed, and she doesn’t even know if she should stay there at Stephen F. Austin,” he said.

Houston NAACP President Dr. James Douglas said the incident could have been much worse.

“They endangered this young lady’s life it wouldn’t have mattered if they were all white, all Hispanic or all African Americans something wrong was done and the university has an obligation,” Douglas said, who is also a professor at Prairie View A&M University.

Political science professor Melanye Price at PVAMU said the altercation is disturbing.

“We are lucky that we are telling the story about a woman’s survival, not a woman who was shot in her dormitory,” she said.

Price said the students should be held accountable.

“There are lots of missteps I think along the way that have to be addressed, both at SFA and in terms of the police department,” she said. “I don’t know how you have lived through the last six months and not understand whatever your race is the ways in which this was a problem."

The investigation is still ongoing.

"We are going to be sure that justice is served to Christine. This is a very serious matter and those students need to be expelled,” SFA President Kallinen said.