Freshman admits to racial incident with KSA members
Published: Monday, April 27, 2009
Updated: Saturday, May 2, 2009 16:05
Freshman Daniel Foster admitted on Friday to making racial slurs toward, threatening to kill and spitting at a group of Korean students, as part of an apology in the framework of an agreement between him and the 13 members of the Korean Students Association (KSA) whom he accosted during the early-morning hours of April 9.
Foster and the KSA members reached the agreement over the past week outside of university channels, although Dean of Student Affairs Bruce Reitman largely accepted the terms of the deal.
As part of the agreement, Foster, who is white, said he would request that the university suspend him for next semester and he would write a signed apology that he would "cause to be published" in the Daily, not join a fraternity as an undergraduate at Tufts, attend Alcoholics Anonymous sessions and "anti-bias/anti-hate" courses, and enter into and receive treatment from a therapist or mental health counselor.
"Mr. Foster wishes to make amends to the extent which is possible for his inappropriate, offensive, and hurtful behavior, and all parties wish to resolve this matter without litigation or other proceedings," reads the agreement, which Foster and the KSA members signed on Friday.
The agreement comes after a fight broke out between Foster and some of the 13 KSA members shortly before 2 a.m. on April 9, as the Korean students practiced for a culture show in the Lewis Hall main lounge. KSA members initially alleged that Foster uttered racial slurs, made threats and spat at them members after the violence ended.
Foster said in a statement later that day, though, that he shouted obscenities and that a Korean student first pushed him. Until Friday's agreement, Foster had not publicly admitted to making racial slurs toward, spitting at or threatening to kill the students. And Reitman said that Foster also admitted drinking before the incident; Foster is underage.
The agreement and Foster's apology did not mention the fight, however. Instead, "[a]dvocates for the two sides said that all of the students wished to dismiss their previous statements about any physical altercation," Reitman said in his statement; he told the Daily yesterday that the university counsel had questioned the parties about this aspect after noticing its omission from the document.
As part of the agreement, both sides said they would not take further action, unless the document's stipulations were breached.
In his statement, Reitman also said that the university would accept the deal as long as Foster also completes an anger-management program and, upon completion of his suspension, satisfies the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs "that he has learned from this experience and will contribute positively to the community."
Reitman said his office respected the outcome of the parties' deliberations, even though they occurred outside of university channels, as "such efforts are often more meaningful than those reached in fact-finding hearings."
His office was thus reluctant to diverge from Foster's and the KSA members' decision, he said, but still decided that more had to be done.
"[G]iven the seriousness of the behavior to which the one student has admitted, I do not feel that his automatic return to the university community after the suspension is appropriate," Reitman said in the statement.
Outgoing KSA Co-President Tom Moon, one of the 13 KSA members who signed the agreement, said that Foster first met with and admitted guilt to the KSA members on Thursday. At first, Moon said, the Korean students were not sure if Foster was sincere. TThe freshman said he sobbed the night of the incident, according to Moon.
"We thought that yes, we thought that he could be sorry for what happened … but he didn't understand the extent of what he did and how it affected the people," Moon said, adding that the KSA members asked Foster why he portrayed himself as a victim in his original statement to the Daily.
"I'm just relieved that it's all over now, because now I can finally get back to studying for finals," Moon said. "I think that what happened was the right outcome. I think that he should go to classes, he should have some disciplinary mark to show what he did, to show how much he affected our community."
On the morning of April 9, Foster approached the students and mocked a dance five of them were practicing; tensions rose and the KSA members asked Foster to leave.
A short scuffle broke out, and both sides told the Daily later that day that the other had started it. Foster said on April 16 that he received injuries to his elbows, one shoulder, an area behind his ear, his neck and one of his knees. At least one KSA member's shirt was ripped, and one's face was scratched. Both parties have said the other side started the scuffle.
In his apology, Foster admitted to bothering members of the KSA who were practicing a dance in the main lounge of Lewis Hall and spitting at the KSA members.
He also admitted that he called the KSA members "‘chinks,' told them to ‘go back to China,' told them that I would ‘get them,' said ‘I am going to kill you all,' and probably other words that I do not remember.
"My guilt and shame have been eating me away inside," Foster said in the written apology, which appears in today's Daily on page 20. "I am genuinely sorry for the pain I have caused not only to the people directly involved in the incident, but for every one [sic] else who was affected by the words I said that night."