Two of the three Palestinian students attacked over the weekend at Guilford College spoke out Tuesday as school officials shed more light on the incident police are treating as a racially motivated assault.

In a statement and during an afternoon news conference, college officials said:

-The attack occurred at 12:30 a.m. Saturday in the courtyard outside Bryan Hall dormitory.
-At least some of the students involved were “under the influence of alcohol.”
-Some students involved were acquaintances and residence hall neighbors with no history of conflict.

Criminal charges were filed the next day, which led to arrests Monday.

“It was the most horrific experience of my life,” N.C. State student Omar Awartani, one of the Palestinians, said Tuesday during a phone interview.

“This was a horrible, unprovoked hate crime.”

Student accounts of the assault vary greatly, and the college stressed in its statement Tuesday that the cause is not yet known. But court documents say up to 15 members of Guilford’s football team attacked the students with fists, feet and brass knuckles while using racial slurs.

Michael Bates, of Reidsville; Michael Robert Six, of Clemmons; and Christopher Barnette, of Semora, were arrested in connection with the attack.

Barnette is the second NCAA Division III All-America player in the school’s history and is considered an NFL prospect.

Six is the team’s second leading tackler.

Bates and Six were charged with three counts of assault and battery each. Barnette was charged with two counts of assault and battery. All three were charged with ethnic intimidation, a misdemeanor that can carry a sentence of up to 120 days in jail for each count.


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