SJSU Hate Crime Report Questions Response Time

San Jose State University released a fact-finding report on Monday stemming from a high-profile racist attack on an African-American freshman this fall.

The 53-page report focused in part on determining whether the campus or any of its employees violated any existing campus or system wide policies by ignoring, or not seeing, that four white students created a hostile environment for the freshman in October.

Myron "Mike" D. Moye, a partner with Hanson Bridgett LLP in San Francisco, wrote the report, which concludes that the university staff "acted in accordance with its policies in responding to the reports of misconduct at the time the incidents came to its attention."

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However, the report says that SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi and his chief of staff were kept in the dark for an entire month about the details of the investigation. It added that both were concerned by the lack of leadership during this period.

The report says that dorm staff was not aware of the alleged bullying for weeks, in part because the victim did not immediately speak out about it.

"At the end of the day we'll have a process, we'll have changes that will be real, changes that everyone will have a chance to participate," Qayoumi said at a press conference Monday.

Some of the hostility in the October incident included fastening a bike lock around the black freshman’s neck, writing the N- word on a dry erase board, draping a Confederate flag around a campus apartment and having Nazi-era paraphernalia lying about.

In November, the Santa Clara County District Attorney filed misdemeanor hate crime and battery charges against Logan Beaschler, 18; Joseph Bomgardner, 19; and Colin Warren, 18, of Woodacre in Marin County. The three were suspended by SJSU on Nov. 21. A fourth student, an 18-year-old from Los Angeles, was suspended on Nov. 22. His charges and identity are not public because he was a juvenile at the time of the alleged incidents.

Beaschler has pleaded not guilty. The others have not yet been arraigned.

Moye delivered his report to California State University legal council. A related message was shared with all SJSU students, faculty and staff.

In addition, retired Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge LaDoris Cordell, who is now the Independent Police Auditor for San Jose, was asked to head up the task force to recommend any actions the university should take stemming from Moye's report. She is doing so on a voluntary basis.

"One of the issues we're going to look at is environment on the campus to see if there is anything that can be done to encourage individuals who are the subject of this abuse, or alleged abuse in this case, that could enable them to come forward and not be as reluctant," Cordell said.

The university has created a web page dedicated to the hate crimes, called "Toward a More Welcoming Community."

Riya Bhattacharjee contributed to this report.

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