Brothers Thomas Kanewakeron Gray, 19, and Lloyd Skanahwati Gray, 17 drove seven hours from Santa Cruz, New Mexico to tour the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, only to be taken off the tour by the cops.
The brothers are of the Mohawk tribe of Native Americans and were wearing t-shirts from Cattle Decapitation and Archspire on their tour. When they embarked on the campus tour, the New York Times says a woman called the police saying the brothers were "definitely not" part of the tour, that their clothing represented "dark stuff," and that they were lying to her with fake names and what they wanted to study. She added in the 911 call that "it's probably nothing" and that "if it's nothing, I'm sorry, but it actually made me like feel sick and I've never felt like that." The brothers were taken off the tour when their group was going through one of the college's gymnasiums.
When the brothers attempted to rejoin the tour, the tour had already moved on without them. Admissions then told them they could not complete their tour, and the two brothers drove all the way back home. President of Colorado State University Dr. Tony Frank released a lengthy statement regarding the incident and offers ways this could be prevented in the future. Here's one segment of that statement.
Two young men, through no fault of their own, wound up frightened and humiliated because another campus visitor was concerned about their clothes and overall demeanor, which appears to have simply been shyness. The very idea that someone – anyone – might “look” like they don’t belong on a CSU Admissions tour is anathema. People of all races, gender identities, orientations, cultures, religions, heritages, and appearances belong here. As long as you want to earn a great education surrounded by people with the same goal who come from every part of our state, our country, and our world, then you belong here. And if you’re uncomfortable with a diverse and inclusive academic environment, then you probably have a better fit elsewhere.
The Gray brothers' mother Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray told The Washington Post that she finds it ridiculous that someone was suspicious of her sons because they were "too quiet," and adds "They were trying to listen. Why should it be a crime to listen and not engage in a conversation?" She also tells Denver 10 that she feels this situation stems from "some biased person [judging] my boys on how they looked.”
Cattle Decapitation has posted the story on their Facebook and tagged the two brothers, offering them free guest list spots to their shows for life. Thomas Gray has since commented on the post, saying the following.
Thank you everyone for the support. We love everyone. Its really hard to come up with a proper reaction to everyones help. Its very overwhelming but nonetheless, i hope this teaches a lesson to everyone that is going through any sort of discrimination or racial acts. Keep yourself going. What happened was wrong in so many ways and we wish this on no one else.