Administrators from St. Stephens High School on the Wind River Reservation say their students’ rights may have been violated when a group of them were searched by University of Wyoming employees while browsing the campus bookstore.
UW officials say they are currently investigating the incident.
Ten seniors from the school visited UW last weekend as part of a program called “Campus Pass.” It allows high schoolers to check out the University’s resources and attend a Cowboys football game.
But before the game, a customer in the campus bookstore accused one of the students of shoplifting—and six Native American male students were held and physically searched. No evidence of shoplifting was found.
That’s according to St. Stephens High School principal Cheryl Meyers. She says the incident upset students and parents.
“They’re all applying to the University. I think for a few of them it is going to affect that—their thought process on whether the University of Wyoming is a place they wish to attend,” says Meyers. “They were intimidated. Their names, numbers, personal information was taken down. I think they really felt isolated.”
Meyers is not saying the incident was profiling, but is disappointed that the University chose to search the entire group of students—instead of a specific suspect.
Meyers sent a letter to University administrators.
Chris Boswell, UW’s Vice President for governmental and community affairs, says the University cannot comment until they finish an investigation in the next few days.