San Jose State Task Force on Racial Discrimination Urges University President to Act Following “Ugly Incident”

The president of San Jose State University is promising action in response to a long list of recommendations issued in the wake of a racially charged incident on campus last fall.

The Special Task Force on Racial Discrimination was convened after an African-American student said he was bullied by his white roommates on the SJSU campus.

This was the sixth and final meeting of the special task force, and it came up with a list of more than 50 recommendations outlining changes to be made on campus.

The university’s president said he is committed to following through.

Task force leader LaDoris Cordell, directly addressing SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi, said “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” urging him to act on her task force’s long list of recommendations.

“Now is the time to use this ugly incident of racial bullying to bring long lasting change to San Jose State University,” said Cordell, a retired Santa Clara County judge. Qayoumi previously said that he appointed Cordell because she "has sought to give a voice to the unheard."

The task force, made up of students, faculty and community members, said “the university should create an office of diversity, enable students to anonymously report online incidents of discrimination, and require diversity training for faculty and staff.

The university’s president says he’s committed to taking action.

“One thing I can give you is 100 percent assurance that each and every one of those recommendations will be closely looked at and seriously reviewed,” Qayoumi said.

The task force came together after a racially charged incident on campus last fall that received national attention. An African-American freshman reported his white dorm mates taunted him with racial slurs, put up a Confederate flag, barricaded him in his room and placed a bike lock around his neck.

Gary Daniels is a San Jose State student who served on the task force. He said he isn’t optimistic the university will act on the recommendations.

“Based on this administration’s track record, I’m not very confident,” Daniels said. “I’m very skeptical. Time will tell.”

The student who was bullied has filed a $5 million lawsuit against San Jose State.

The accused bullies now face hate crime and battery charges.

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