Following the arrest of Zachary Tucker, 21, and Sean Fitzgerald, 19, MU Police classified the incident as a hate crime, which is a Class D felony and carries a sentence of up to four years.
Instead, the students — who have been suspended from the university and placed on an interim leave of absence from the Naval ROTC program — were charged with littering, a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum one-year sentence or a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
In Missouri, a hate crime is defined as a crime “motivated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or disability of the victim or victims.”
Kevin O’Brien, Fitzgerald’s attorney, said Monday that the students must complete community service requirements and several other tasks to help their chances of being readmitted to MU in the fall. A sentencing hearing will take place April 29.
Should the students be readmitted to MU? What should they have to do to be readmitted? Should they have been charged for a hate crime?