SJSU Students Say Racism Complaints Went Ignored

In the wake of an alleged hate crime against an African-American student at San Jose State University, some of the victim’s classmates claim they raised concerns about racism on campus at least a year ago, and were ignored by the administration.

“African American students have been trying to let the administration know for at least a year that there were problems,” said Senior Gary Daniels, and chairman of the Black Unity Group on campus. "There’s been no response until there was national media attention and that’s very sad.”

Four white students are now suspended from school and facing misdemeanor charges for allegedly verbally and physically abusing their African American roommate, calling him racial slurs, making references to slavery, and putting a bicycle lock around his neck.

Daniels was among a group of six students who met on Monday with University President Mohammed Qayoumi.

The students presented Qayoumi with a list of demands. Some of those demands and concerns were highlighted in a 2011 report conducted by SJSU Sociology Professor Susan B. Murry called "The Campus Climate."  In more than 100 pages, Murry detailed how many black students feel "micro-agression" toward them on campus. Her report was never publicized by the university.

The demands included making African American Studies a requirement for all students, instating a “Zero Tolerance” policy on racial harassment, and reexamining the school’s housing policies.

University spokesperson Pat Harris said Qayoumi is drafting a response to the demands, and she apologized if there was a delay.

“That could be entirely true and if it is, that’s a deplorable way of handling things,” Harris said. “They should have been listened to a long time ago, and the administration is very sorry, and we’re going to do our best moving forward.”

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