St. John Fisher suspends students accused of vandalizing Frederick Douglass statue

December 17, 2018 03:27 PM

Two students who admit to ripping down a Frederick Douglass statue have been suspended by St. John Fisher College.

John Boedicker, 20, and Charlie Milks, 21, pleaded not guilty to criminal mischief charges Monday, but the students told News10NBC they were drunk when they took the statue on Tracy Street early Sunday morning. They claim that they were heading home from the bar when they got a "bad idea" to take the statue. 


On Monday, President Gerard Rooney issued the following statement:

"Effective immediately, two students allegedly involved in vandalism of a Frederick Douglass statue have been suspended from the College. The suspension will continue until the legally mandated student conduct hearing addressing this matter is completed.  We have taken the strongest possible action available to us at this time. In addition to continuing to follow the College’s own Student Conduct Process, the administration will cooperate fully with members of the law enforcement community."

Milks, a member of St. John Fisher's football team, is due back in court on Jan. 3; Boedicker is due back in court on Jan. 9.

The statue of Douglass had only been up for a month at the intersection of Tracy and Alexander streets. The goal is to have a new one up by the end of the week.

Mayor Warren also issued a statement on Monday. Read her full statement below. 

"The vandalism and theft of the Frederick Douglass statue on Tracy Street is a sad event that demonstrates remarkable disrespect for the citizens of Rochester, especially those who have worked so hard to celebrate the legacy of Douglass during the 200th anniversary of his birth. I am grateful to the citizens who reported this incident as it unfolded and for the immediate response of the RPD, which resulted in a successful arrest. I have also spoken with Dr. Gerard Rooney, President of St. John Fisher College, who shares our community's contempt for this type of behavior. We should all use this opportunity to consider the wisdom and continued relevance in Douglass's own words when he said: "The soul that is within me, no man can degrade." 


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