Swastikas, Hate Graffiti Found in San Jose State Dorms

Swastikas and other hate graffiti were discovered at two San Jose State dorms Tuesday night, according to university police.

The swastikas were found at Washburn Hall and Campus Village on floors that house first-year students, campus President Mary Papazian said Wednesday in a letter to the campus community.

One swastika was drawn with a dry-erase marker on a white board in the common area of a suite at Campus Village and the other was formed using name tags from the room doors at Washburn Hall.

"I am both saddened and outraged by this news," Papazian said in the letter. "I have spoken with campus and community leaders and shared our resolve to provide a safe learning environment where difficult issues can be addressed collaboratively and transparently."

Papazian said she was in Long Beach to attend the CSU meetings.

Investigators would not say what hateful phrases were written alongside the swastikas.

Students on Wednesday night reacted to the hateful messages.

"I'm hoping it was a joke and not a serious threat," said Daniel Dabel, who lives in Washburn Hall. "People should be educated on how things like this aren't a joke. People were hurt. Many families lost people in the holocaust."

"It makes you feel awkward," said Bianca Gilmore, who lives at Campus Village. "I'm living with the people. I don't know what they could be thinking."

Newly hired Kathleen Wong (Lau)’s chief diversity officer, who holds the university’s first position of this kind, was scheduled to meet with students Wednesday night. She was hired in July following thel conviction of three former white San Jose State University students who were convicted of misdemeanor battery on a black student. The issue of race and toleranace has been an especially sensitive topic on campus since then.

And her position was one of the key recommendations submitted in April 2014 by a Special Task Force on Racial Discrimination led by retired Judge LaDoris Cordell.

The many recommendations on how to change the campus climate came after prosecutors charged 21-year-old Joseph Bomgardner of Clovis; 20-year-old Logan Beaschler of Bakersfield; and 20-year-old Colin Warren of Woodacre with fastening a U-shaped bike lock to a then-freshman’s neck, hanging Nazi symbols and a Confederate flag in their shared space in 2013. The three also called the African-American student “three-fifths,” referring to  a derogatory slave term. The trio was originally charged with hate-crimes, but they were not convicted of that during their April trial.

Wong (Lau) was hired to provide a “vision and direction for university-wide efforts to ensure a welcoming, safe climate for every member of our community” and serve as a liaison to community partners and constituents on a wide array of diversity initiatives.

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call university police at 408-924-2222.

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