UAlbany Students Rally After Alleged Assault on CDTA Bus

UAlbany students held a rally Monday evening after the alleged assault of three female students on a CDTA bus over the weekend.

Police say three women reported being assaulted during an argument on the bus early Saturday morning. The alleged victims told police the argument was between about a dozen men and women and involved the use of racial slurs against them.

Police say video from the CDTA bus shows a fight did take place after the bus entered the university's main campus. That's when they say the group began punching and kicking them.

Two of the women were taken to Albany Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

One of the alleged victims, Asha Burwell, spoke out at Monday's rally saying, "We were shocked, upset but we will remain unbroken. We stand here with strength because we value our worth as black women and human beings in general."

Another passenger, who wants to remain anonymous, spoke exclusively with Time Warner Cable News, saying the bus ride went differently than Burwell said.

"There were guys present, but I did not see a single guy put a hand on a girl," said the passenger. "If they put a hand on them, they were separating to avoid someone getting hurt. They did not hit them in any way that I saw."

The two women taken to the hospital had minor cuts to the face. They claim their calls for help fell on deaf ears.

"I didn’t jump in because it seemed like a normal girl fight," said the anonymous passenger. "All the people on Twitter are taking this one girl’s side; they’re not listening to both sides. They call me racist, I guess, because I’m white. But a lot of ignorance lately on social media, is all I can say."

Videos taken by passengers have not been posted to social media. Police have not shared video taken through the CDTA cameras, either.

Organizers of Monday's rally say a culture change is needed, because no one would be asking for proof of such a vicious assault if the victims were different.

"I just think that it goes to show when a black woman says something that has happened to her, a lot of people don't believe it was true, but I feel like if the tables were turned, nobody would be questioning the situation," said Adanna Perry, president of the National Congress of Black Women.

In a statement, UAlbany's president said he hopes the annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration being held Monday will help the university community stand together.

Anybody with any information on the incident is being asked to contact police.

Geoff Redick contributed to this report. 

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