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Police Called To Investigate Native Americans On CSU Tour

By Joel Hillan

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) -- Two Native American students from New Mexico were taking an admissions tour at Colorado State University Monday when a parent on the tour got nervous about the young men, who joined the tour late, and called campus police.

Thomas Gray is a freshman at Northern New Mexico College, but his mom says his dream school is CSU. She says Thomas and his younger brother planned the campus visit as a bonding experience.

"I was nervous for them to get in our family car and drive seven hours to a place they've never been before and find their way around and fight the Denver traffic," said Lorriane Gray, the boys' mother.

Lorriane Gray and Thomas Gray
Lorriane Gray and Thomas Gray (credit: CBS)

She says she was relieved when she got the text that they'd arrived, but 30 minutes later, got a disturbing phone call.

"I got a frantic phone call from Thomas saying 'somebody called the police on us because we were quiet," Gray said. "And I couldn't believe it. I thought he's just messing with me."

The boys told her they were too shy to speak up during introductions, and that's when another parent contacted CSU police.

In an email to students and staff Wednesday, university officials outlined what happened next:

"Police responded to the call by contacting the young men, who are Native American and visiting from New Mexico, during the tour. The CSUPD spoke with the students, confirmed they were part of the tour, and allowed them to rejoin the group. Unfortunately, due to the location of the tour when the contact was made, the Admissions tour guide was unaware that police had been called or responded, and the tour group had moved on without the students, who returned to Ammons Hall briefly, then left campus to return home to New Mexico."

The University called the incident sad and frustrating from nearly every angle.  They say they have reached out to the students' family members and the school community.

University officials say they are meeting with Admissions, the Native American Cultural Center, and the CSUPD to review how an incident like this could be avoided or handled more appropriately in the future.

Colorado State University in Fort Collins
Colorado State University in Fort Collins (credit: CBS)

CBS4 reached out to Colorado State University as well as the Native American Cultural Center for further comment about the incident and have yet to hear back.

To read the full email about the incident that was sent to CSU's students and staff click here.

Gray says at first her sons were really upset didn't want her to bring attention to the incident, but says the issue needs to be brought to light.

"I'm of the belief that if you keep quiet about things then they're going to continue to happen and it's our responsibility to speak out and let other people know what's happening," Gray said.

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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