UVM student cited after allegations of racial threats

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) A UVM student is facing criminal charges after reports of a racist phone conversation.

"I walked around campus so nervous,” said Akilah Ho-Young, a junior. “I skipped a couple classes because I wasn't sure who this person was."

Wesley Richter, 20, was issued a citation for disorderly conduct. The university says this all started Monday, when a community member reported overhearing a phone call, where someone used racist and threatening language toward black people and diversity initiatives.

UVM school and police officials said they couldn't talk to us about the investigation, or about what was said in that conversation. We couldn't find anyone to tell us firsthand what was said either.

Many students tell us they want to know more.

"It seemed kind of ambiguous," said Ben Burt, a freshman.

"I would like some more information to know because it seems pretty vague right now," said Lucas Erbland, a freshman.

The school says its police department investigated right away and that the Chittenden County State's Attorney determined the disorderly conduct charge is appropriate. UVM police report there is not a danger to the public.

Still, the lack of information regarding what happened was unsettling for students like senior Angelica Crespo.

"We were not given any type of precautions or how to maneuver our lives," said Crespo.

School officials say privacy laws prevent them from talking about disciplinary action against individual students. They did say that typically, students facing criminal charges do have to answer to the university for their alleged conduct.

"We want to educate so these incidents don't happen," said Crespo. "We want accountability."

"I think they're trying to do as much as they can," said Elias Lindsey, a freshman. "I think they're definitely doing the right thing."

The prosecutor says Richter is expected to be arraigned in Chittenden County Superior Court Friday morning.