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Shepard to press charges for alleged discriminatory incident

Manny De Los Santos

Manny De Los Santos

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Joseph Shepard, former Wichita State Student Body President, will press charges against the parents of Student Body President Paige Hungate for an incident that occurred following a farewell speech Shepard delivered at the end-of-the-year Student Government banquet.

Hungate’s parents, who each work at local high schools, are under criminal investigation for battery and anti-black, hate “fighting words.” The disturbance was reported to Wichita State University Police at around 9:15 p.m. Thursday.

“Violence in any form is not acceptable and being called a racial slur should never be tolerated,” Shepard wrote in a letter he shared to Facebook Monday evening. “Not only should it not be tolerated, but proactive measures must be taken to hold those who participate in such behavior accountable — no excuses.

“For this reason, I have decided to move forward and press charges against the individuals who allegedly participated in such behavior against me and my family.”

“This is not a time for me to victimize myself, but rather an opportunity to hold individuals accountable and fight for justice,” he continued.

Shepard said Hungate’s mother, Stacey Steffes-Sundquist, approached him after his speech because she had taken exception to his speech. He said they then moved the conversation outside of Beggs Ballroom, where the conversation escalated to an argument.

Shepard said Steffes-Sundquist described his speech as “divisive” and an attack on her daughter.

Shepard said Steffes-Sundquist raised her voice while continuing to express animosity toward him, and with tensions building, former Student Body Vice President Taben Azad stepped in, telling Shepard to leave the altercation. Agreeing to leave, Shepard responded to Steffes-Sundquist saying, “Act your age, not your shoe size and then maybe, moving forward, we can have a conversation.”

Shepard said as Steffes-Sundquist left, she mumbled a racial slur directed at him.

Multiple sources that witnessed the altercation confirmed Steffes-Sundquist then directed a racial epithet toward Shepard. After the argument, Hungate’s father, Trent Hungate, “charged” Shepard, bumping Shepard’s mother, who is listed in the police report as a victim, in the shoulder, multiple witnesses said.

“He had intent to physically harm me,” Shepard said of Trent Hungate.

Shepard said the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is investigating the case in addition to local law enforcement.

22 Comments

22 Responses to “Shepard to press charges for alleged discriminatory incident”

  1. I Stand By Shepard on May 8th, 2017 10:45 pm

    I am deeply saddened for Shepard.

    Trent and Stacey, you deserved getting caught. What you believe is absurd. What you said is a bastardization of the beauty of the human kind. Your defamation of beauty is absolutely wrong. You will be held accountable by an incredible thing called poetic justice.

    I am so sorry, and I stand by you Shepard.

    [Reply]

  2. Dr. Anna Chandler on May 9th, 2017 11:03 am

    As a former faculty member and a supporter of Wichita State, I am appalled. Such behavior is not what is tolerated on a campus as open and tolerant as Wichita State.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Agreed, you should have seen the disrespectful and intolerant remarks Joseph made towards Paige. He has been a bully to her for over a year. He was throwing off his jacket and wanting to fight her parents after the speech. Very unbecoming of a student leader.

    [Reply]

    Yeah, Not Quite Reply:

    Is this what the WSU administration hired an outside attorney from Kansas City to investigate? That apparently found absolutely nothing after several months? That the new Vice President wouldn’t meet with Joseph to discuss though she met with Paige privately?

    [Reply]

    No Reply:

    Not even close, Kevin.

    https://www.facebook.com/sandra.j.carlo/posts/1661665703848290?pnref=story

    [Reply]

    Mr. Jones Reply:

    So subjectivism is now the truth?

    Wow Reply:

    The material in this link is amazing. Wow is all I can say. Not only race but sexual orientation as well. Really amazing. How will students of any minority group be comfortable bringing any issue to SGA with all of this? With Paige’s connection to the Schlapp family and the WSU administration this explains a lot. How will students be comfortable taking any concerns to the WSU administration as well? This is just amazing information.

    Kevin Reply:

    He has been a bully to her for a very long time. Shepard is a sexist. He doesn’t think she can speak for herself because she is a female.

    Joseph has been an attention getter from the start. It’ll be a struggle for him now being the center of attention now.

  3. Anonymous on May 9th, 2017 11:51 am

    Whatever happened to, “enough is enough”?

    Racism, sexism, and nationalism is growing at WSU. This isn’t just a single incident. Bigotry has been on the rise in the area at WSU for some time.

    WSU is ranked as one of the nation’s most sexist schools in the country (3). A few years back a woman was raped and set on fire across the street from the dorms (1). Later on, a former VP spoke about a rape cover up regarding athletics (5). Last year there was hate speech written on campus (4). Personally, I’ve noticed students and faculty showing resentment towards internationals — whether it’s criticizing accents or flat-out changing the stance on hiring someone qualified because of their nationality, culture, religion, or accent. I’ve even heard stories of Professors hiring “Americans only.” There was even a Saudi Arabian student who was beat up at the gas station between WSU and Koch Industries (2).

    The issue of growing nationalism has to be addressed. We are sophisticated, sentient beings capable of higher thought. Racist, sexist, classist, and nationalist language does not belong in a civilized society. People are beginning to feel they can say whatever they want, and it is our duty as good samaritans to stomp it out swiftly so everyone realizes this is not okay.

    I applaud the gentleman for taking the courage to press charges and go forth with this action. It is far too easy to brush words off, but going to court is a very timely process.

    Sources:
    1. http://ksn.com/2014/11/15/woman-sexually-assaulted-and-set-on-fire-in-northeast-wichita/

    2. http://www.kansas.com/news/local/crime/article65903602.html

    3. https://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/491/d692da50-00d4-0134-f1c7-0aacbc4f5d01.png?w=480&h=919&fit=crop&crop=faces&auto=format&q=70&dpr=2

    4. http://www.kansas.com/news/local/education/article118950133.html

    5. http://kmuw.org/post/former-employee-sues-wsu-over-title-ix-violations

    [Reply]

    Skeptic Reply:

    Whatever happened to letting all the facts come out before making an opinion? But that not might fit your narrative.

    To debunk what you stated, 1.) The fire incident was a woman who was hanging with a violent drug dealer at three in the morning, sorry not related to the campus. 2.) Wade Robinson is a blowhard and an idiot because the charge was found to have not sufficient evidence. We have a thing called due process in this nation. 3.) That hate speech was done by a liberal to address the issue of “sexism” racism” and other buzzwords that are said in an arbitrary nature.

    As a student, especially where I come in contact with a vast amount of international students on a daily basis, I have never seen any discrimination towards them. So anonymous, maybe you should leave your echo chamber and get some fresh air.

    [Reply]

    Please Use Credible Sources Reply:

    Your (3) Source is garbage, and misleading. Collegestats.org has removed the posting from their own website, stating that it was misleading. Below is a direct quote from the page that used to host the study:

    “the study did not take into account the context of such tweets. Even careless, albeit not mean-spirited, use of these terms”

    You also have to look at the metric the use to measure how ‘derogatory’ an area is. An area is measured on how derogatory it is based on the number of sexist people there are, not on how many times they collectively say those keywords. To be more accurate, they should have counted a derogatory person, on if they had 1 or more derogatory keywords in any of their tweets, and based this on number of people who tweeted at least 1 derogatory word.

    Please use critical thinking before you blindly accept a study as proof. Just because a .org posts a study doesn’t mean it’s right. Remember, statistics can be manipulated to show whatever somebody wants.

    Source:
    https://collegestats.org/explore/most-derogatory-colleges/

    [Reply]

  4. Steve on May 9th, 2017 2:20 pm

    Paige needs to do the right thing and resign immediately. It is simply impossible for her to represent the WSU students now. If she won’t do the right thing, SGA and the University should remove her from the position ASAP. If she continues to act like a legitimate SGA President and hopes this will all just blow over, she is delusional. If she really cares about WSU and the students, she will resign and let a new leader not tainted by the racist actions of her parents to take over. If Paige attempts to serve out her term, this situation will get a lot worse.

    [Reply]

    Stephanie Reply:

    I on the other hand admire her for not resigning. Charges have been filed but the truth has not as both sides are giving conflicting accounts. Shepards speech has not been revealed and the private concersation between the parents and Shepard has not been revealed, just individual conflicting accounts. Paige Hungate did not participate. I say let her work hard and prove herself worthy of being Student Body President.

    [Reply]

  5. Kevin on May 9th, 2017 3:19 pm

    1. Sad story, but this was not about WSU Students/Administration. The victim nor the convicted individual were not associated with WSU. It was only connected to WSU since it took place a few blocks away.

    2. This story was a wash. The student and his friend picked a fight with a biker. Once the video evidence was released, the story died in embarrassment to the WSU student.

    3. “tweets on or near campus”….. what does that mean? One thing about Wichita is, the “near campus” includes a vast majority of minorities and international students. Is that a reflection on these individuals? I’m not exactly for sure the study for this if even closer to fair. Students, faculty and staff don’t tweet with the words “Bitch” in it.

    4. The incident was reported to be done by a liberal arts student who did it in the name of “art”. In fact, the student was proven to be more of a leftist and runs in the same crowd as We the Students (Joseph and Taban’s friends). So, basically, a fake hate crime.

    5. This guys prowls the WSU FB and Sunflower page and trolls a lot. I feel bad for him but it tends to show there is more to the story.

    [Reply]

  6. Milo on May 9th, 2017 6:03 pm

    Her father BUMPED into your mother and you’re pressing charges? Wow. The character of this “student leader” must make Wichita State so proud.

    [Reply]

    Alisha Reply:

    No, the man bumped into his own wife as he charged the boy. So even though she was the one who made the racial slur she is listed as a victim in the report because she was touched by the man attacking (her husband).

    [Reply]

  7. AlishaP on May 10th, 2017 10:21 am

    (not the alisha above, who I think read the article wrong btw…)

    what was in Shepard speech that set them off? Link?

    [Reply]

  8. Mercy on May 10th, 2017 11:22 am

    Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespassors, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen

    [Reply]

  9. Steve on May 10th, 2017 5:01 pm

    The content of Shepard’s speech is irrelevant and just a red herring tossed out by Paige’s supporters. Unless someone actually believes that anything Joseph might have said provides justification to be called a ni@@er and be assaulted physically. I actually cannot believe that some people seem to think that this is somehow Joseph’s fault for not knowing his place. Paige’s stubborn refusal to stepdown and let one of her cabinet members assume her duties until the investigation is complete is just pouring salt on the wound. Personally, if my parents came to campus, acted like fools and used the n-word and attacked a student, I would have a hard time showing my face on campus ever again. The fact that Paige is adamant that she will not step down shows you a lot about the kind of person she really is.

    [Reply]

    Stephanie Reply:

    Paige is responsibly assuming the position she was voted into by the student body. Paige Hungate is not responsible for the remarks that Shepard made questioning her ability to be student body president and Paige is not responsible for anything her parents said. The truth will eventually come out.

    [Reply]

    Equal Time Reply:

    Be sure to post the speech Paige gave as well.

    [Reply]

    WSU graduate Reply:

    It sounds to me that your goal here is to defamate and invalidate the new president…not to consider the evidence or even hold the accused responsible. What did this girl have to do with the incident other than the fact that her parents are accused of something?

    Also, provoking remarks by the “victim” that were potentially aggressive or otherwise inflammatory would be very pertinate to the determination of the alleged hate crime as such. Inflammatory words that instigate an inflammatory response are just as guiltiy, and they reduce the validity of the alleged victim’s complaint. However, if there was nothing provocative directed at the accused or their daughter, it also works in the alleged victim’s favor. Either way, it is very pertinate to the case.

    The only red herring here is the assumed responsibility of the new president based on her relationship to the accused. What frightens me is that the facts have clearly not been brought entirely to light for either side, and yet we have far too many people making assumptions and taking sides.

    Something else that bothers me is that we have a full criminal investigation that also involves a civil lawsuit and the NAACP over the n-word? I don’t like the word, and I would never use it…but it is a WORD. I have been called various names throughout my life, and I did not feel the need to call the national guard over it. If her parents did use the word, and it was at a WSU related event…ban them. Do not tolerate innappropriate behavior, especially when it is racist or prejudiced. However, we have to ask ourselves: Did a fight occur? Was anyone actually physically injured? Was this a result of harrasment or ongoing bullying resulting in sever emotional stress for the alleged victim? If not, this has been fearfully blown so far outside of the realm of reason that all hope is lost.

    [Reply]

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