Criminal Trial - CDTA Bus Incident

What is the University’s statement about the trial?

The incident was alarming, and it had a significant impact on our university. The University addressed it through its administrative process, using the same procedures that apply to all students accused of violating the University’s Student Code of Conduct.

Separately from the University, the Albany County District Attorney’s Office, through the New York State criminal justice system, is prosecuting criminal charges filed against the former students in connection the incident. The criminal proceedings are separate and distinct from the University’s administrative process for student discipline.

All three of the former students were charged by the District Attorney’s Office with breaking various criminal laws in connection with their role in the incident. One (Briggs) pleaded guilty. According to news reports, while pleading guilty to charges for her role in fabricating the story that she and her friends were the victims of a racially motivated attack, Briggs admitted to the judge that she knew the story was not true. The other two students (Burwell and Agudio) pleaded not guilty. Their trial is set to begin on April 17.

What were the outcomes of the University’s disciplinary process?

Last March an impartial University hearing panel found that the three former students violated the UAlbany student code of conduct. The determination was upheld on appeal, and all three received sanctions: Asha Burwell and Ariel Agudio were expelled; and Alexis Briggs was suspended for two years.

Why didn’t the University wait to conduct its disciplinary process until after the criminal case was resolved?

The University does not wait for the outcome of a criminal case before it addresses potential violations of its policies about student behavior. This point is made clear in the information on the student conduct process published on our web site for all students. The reasons for this include:

  • The University’s process is separate and distinct from the criminal justice system. It is an administrative process designed to ascertain whether a student has broken the rules of the university and if so to impose an appropriate sanction.
  • The criminal justice system addresses violations of the State criminal laws and operates under its own procedures and on its own timeline. A student may have graduated by the time his/her criminal case concludes.
  • The three former students in this incident were treated fairly and provided with the same due process that all students are entitled to under the University’s student disciplinary procedures.