Alleged perpetrator of racist vandalism was victim’s roommate

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UPDATE (4/17/18): This article has been updated to reflect Yukai Yang’s status as the alleged perpetrator

Yukai Yang, ’18, who was arrested and charged for vandalizing a university residence hall with racist language on April 5, had targeted his Warren Square A roommate, according to court documents.

Yang damaged the victim’s television and bed and wrote “N—– GET OUT OF HERE” on the victim’s desk.

The Lehigh University Police Department responded to a report of the damages. After comparing a statement written by Yang to the writing on the desk, LUPD determined that “there were many similarities to the letters.”

Yang was charged with ethnic intimidation, institutional vandalism and criminal mischief. He was remanded to Northampton County Prison with bail set at $10,000. He was released on bail late Saturday afternoon.

According to the release conditions, Yang cannot have any direct or indirect contact with witnesses or victims, and shall refrain from entry into the victim’s residence and place of employment. He also many not leave the state without pretrial approval and must surrender his passport.

Yang’s preliminary hearing will be held on April 20.

He has been placed on interim suspension from the university and is barred from campus until the issue is resolved, according to an email from the Office of the President.

Today, in the aftermath of the incident, members of the university community organized a walk-out demonstration to “stand up against hate on campus and promote campus unity.”

Editor’s Note: The Brown and White has elected not to name the victim out of respect for the sensitivity of the situation.

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23 Comments

  1. Greenwood Hall on

    This is all too typical superficial reporting from the Brown & White, on a very significant story at Lehigh. A more in-depth investigation and analysis would seem to be warranted (and easily accessible) here. Is this a racist hate crime from out of the blue, or an overheated dispute between two roommates in which one went off the deep end? Is the perpetrator from China? Is racist language tolerated in China? Perhaps (Heaven forbid) the Brown and White might want to interview the parties involved or their friends on campus. Note that this crime took place in Warren A, the “creative vibes” theme house with only 16 residents, and note further that according to the LUPD crime log, the day before this incident, a resident of Warren A reported being robbed of more than $300 of property. What does LUPD have to say about that investigation? Is the perpetrator here the victim of that robbery? Many schools of Lehigh’s size produce daily papers. The Brown and White publishes only twice a week. Someone there must have the time to dig into this story.

  2. Amy Charles '89 on

    Wait, I’m sorry.

    Are you trying to defend someone who’s committed a hate crime by saying the black kid stole money and/or that violent racism is normal in China so it’s understandable?

    Are you really doing this?

    Why anyone with an ounce of sense would want anything to do with this place is beyond me. Thank you for this comment, though, which I’ll repost on College Confidential and other sites. People should have a good look at what they’re in for at Lehigh before they apply.

      • Amy Charles '89 on

        One kid, one commenter, one board of trustees, one racist-fratbro graffiti attack a year ago, one currenly active Office of Civil Rights investigation, other students grousing about PC culture…these things are not isolated or new at Lehigh. They go a long way back, unfortunately.

    • @Amy, it’s wrong to assume that the victim stole $300 from the perpetrator (victim blaming to a T), but I do agree with Greenwood’s larger point. Namely that this is a BFD and the B&W should expend more energy reporting on it. Hopefully there are opinion pieces in the pipeline.

      The fact that the student is Chinese does not excuse him, but it is important. I remember how long it took my fellow internationals and I to understand just how disgusting the N word is. In fact, I thought the N word was another word for “negro” which means black in my native tongue. What I’m trying to say is that foreigners don’t have the context that Americans do.

      During int. orientation, we were taught how to shake hands, something I didn’t know how to do before. A crash course on American history and culture would do a world of good. At least for international students.

      • Amy Charles '89 on

        Clara, sure, and innocent mistakes like that happen anytime people move to new cultures. This is pretty different, though — an innocent faux pas doesn’t usually go with trashing someone’s stuff and screaming the them to go home.

        • I agree with Amy. Not understanding the cultural and historical implications of the word “negro” because you didn’t grow up with that cultural and historical context is one thing. But “N—– GET OUT OF HERE” isn’t an innocent faux pas.

    • Greenwood Hall on

      Amy, you are the only one saying that. I am just asking questions. But extreme liberals like yourself won’t even allow questions to be asked that don’t fit their narrative. The primary issue plaguing Lehigh in 2018 is that extremists like you dominate the administration and faculty, and students who have not internalized social justice warrior groupthink are not welcome.

      • Amy Charles '89 on

        I’m just blinking at the idea that you think the administration and faculty at Lehigh are “extremist liberals”. It’s like being in East Germany and hearing about how the real perps in WWII were the fascists. I’d recommend tuning out whatever frequency it is that you’re receiving through your fillings. I hear there are excellent composite substitutes for the old mercury-amalgam these days.

        • Greenwood Hall on

          Amy, you are not only pointlessly snarky, but remarkably out of touch with your alma mater. As the parent of a current student, I can assure you that the current administration wastes no opportunity to impose an extreme progressive worldview on a largely disinterested student body. I can also assure you that in many, if not most, classes in the School of Arts and Sciences, conservative viewpoints are unwelcome.

  3. Pained Alumnus on

    This article is confused and makes little sense.

    First of all, I note that while the victim’s name is not mentioned, the article’s headline says:

    “Perpetrator of racist vandalism was victim’s roommate”

    Warren Square A is a pretty small facility that supposedly houses only 16 students according to the Residential Services website.

    If the “victim” and Yukai Yang are (now were) roommates, that indicates they must have shared some sort of double bedroom together. I have no idea whether they were sharing the same bedroom from the beginning of the school year or whether it has been for just the Spring semester.

    Regardless, it is the middle of the semester. So some sort of trouble must have been brewing between them for some time.

    I can’t help but wonder what the “victim” did that sparked the outrage. Perhaps the supposed “victim” is the one who is really at fault for causing an incendiary clash.

    Perhaps the “victim” is primary racist in the situation.
    ====
    As a practical matter, Yang was hustled off to jail, and is now out on bail.

    According to the article, he is forbidden to set foot on campus. Surely, he needed to get his belongs from Warren Square A. I wonder how that was accomplished and where is he staying?

    • Amy Charles '89 on

      I’m curious. Where did you learn that there are no crimes, only aggrieved and unfairly provoked and entrapped “aggressors” who are actually the real victims?

      Followup: this a thing you learned at Lehigh?

      Second followup: Who’ve you used that rationale to attack?

  4. This story is obviously Fake News! Only white heterosexual patriarchal frat boys are capable of such a heinous crime! I demand the B&W do more research because someone is obviously being framed here.

  5. Mr. Noh W. Guilt on

    Richard is right and no one here should be shutting down the free speech issue he is raising.

    While some race crimes are committed by white students the number is many fewer than the allegations – many reported race crimes turn out to be hoaxes or are between other races…but the editors often like to leave the details murky so the insinuation is that its another frat boy (or as we learned from ‘bama another srat girl) who is a mean cruel despicable racist.

    Journalists need to learn how to be complete and balanced in their reporting and not sensationalize race or jump to conclusions and I believe the B&W has done a reasonable job with this story. But care needs to be given overall so that a particular race or religion is not unfairly tarred by a brush or scapegoated and to make sure yellow journalism doesn’t return.

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