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White Cadet Involved In Hazing At Citadel Files Answer To Newsmith’s Suit

February 2, 1987

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ Former black Citadel cadet Kevin L. Nesmith suffered ″no harm or damage whatsoever″ from a racial hazing, according to a lawsuit filed by one of the five white cadets involved in the incident.

Cadet Paul L. Koss of Leesburg, Fla., denied all allegations in Nesmith’s lawsuit filed last December against Citadel President Maj. Gen. James Grimsley, The Citadel Board of Visitors and the five white cadets, according to an answer filed in U.S. District Court.

Meanwhile, Grimsley said Monday he’s studying an in-house report on campus race relations at the state-assisted military college that was completed Saturday. Grimsley appointed an internal board of inquiry shortly after the Oct. 23 incident.

Koss’ lawsuit, which was filed Thursday, is the first answer from defendants to Nesmith’s allegations that school officials allowed or encouraged ″overt racial bigotry″ resulting in violations of Nesmith’s constitutional rights.

Koss is also seeking unspecified monetary damages from Nesmith for filing an improper suit.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is representing Nesmith in seeking $80,000 in compensatory damages and $800,000 in punitive damages.

Koss and four other cadets entered Nesmith’s room at The Citadel on Oct. 23 ″dressed in sheets and towels resembling Ku Klux Klan attire, chanted disparaging remarks directed at (Nesmith), and left behind a burned paper cross,″ the suit says.

The five cadets were punished but not expelled.

When Nesmith appealed the punishment and sought expulsion of the cadets, he was verbally abused, harassed and intimidated, which eventually forced him to resign from the school on Nov. 13, Nesmith’s suit alleges.

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