One of two University of Connecticut students facing up to 30 days in jail for violating a Connecticut law prohibiting “ridicule” will complete probation, community service, and diversity and bias training as part of an “accelerated rehabilitation” deal.
Jarred Karal was arrested with Ryan Mucaj after the two were playing “a game in which they yelled vulgar words,” according to the police report. A video allegedly shows the 21-year-olds saying “n*****” when they reached the parking lot of a student apartment complex.
The two students were charged under a Connecticut State law that criminalizes ridiculing “any person or class of people on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality, or race.” The misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of $50, or both.
Appearing in court, Karal requested “accelerated rehabilitation,” a deal generally for first-time offenders charged with nonviolent offenses which will result in the charges being dismissed after probation.
On Tuesday, a judge accepted the application and gave Karal six months of probation, 20 hours of community service, and diversity and bias training. Per court records, Mucaj’s case is still pending.
Karal’s lawyer, T.R. Paulding, said his client’s conduct “was very out of character,” and said that Karal is scheduled to graduate in the spring.
The incident caused outrage on UConn’s campus, with the university’s NAACP chapter published a letter to the editor in the campus newspaper lambasting the university’s administration, followed by student protests chanting “it’s more than just a word.”
Democratic State Senators Mae Flexer and Gregory Haddad, both UConn alums, appeared at the protests and voiced support for the students, who aimed criticism at university president Thomas C. Katsouleas, who was singled out for a slow and inadequate response.
“White people can’t just say they care about this with words,”Flexer said. “You can’t just say you’re an ally. You need to be a co-conspirator.”
“I’m here because I want to lift your voices up,” Haddad added.