Two Nigerian men, including University of Colorado student Olubiyi Ogundipe, were leaving Boulder’s Hookah House on Broadway early Saturday, when they heard voices calling them “monkeys” and telling them to return to their country of origin.
Ogundipe allegedly turned around and confronted the suspects, saying something like, “‘Why don’t you give the land back to the Indians,'” says one city spokeswoman (via the Daily Camera). Then, 22-year-old Joseph Owen Coy, of Lafayette, began to punch Ogundipe, knocking him to the ground. A police officer witnessed the assault and gave chase to Coy, who fled. Police are looking for another man they believe was part of the alleged assault. Not long after the incident, Coy was arrested on felony suspicion of a bias-motivated crime and obstruction of a police officer.
University of Colorado administrators and students issued a joint news statement condemning the attack of the two men.
“This act of racial violence and ethnic intimidation has no place in our community or any community,” says CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. CU’s student government president calls the incident an attack “against all CU students, and one we will not stand for.”
Ogundipe, who had a sprained ankle and bruises over his face and body, later told 9News that during his last four years in school, he has at times faced racial slurs and threats in Boulder.
“We’re sick and tired of it. We need resolutions now,” says Ogundipe. Wael Khalifa, a fellow student and member of the Black Student Alliance, agrees, saying he and other students of color face various forms of racism on campus.