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San Jose State University Hate Crime Deplorable
African-American Student at San Jose State University Endured Months of Torment by Dorm Mates
How far have we come as a nation in regard to race relations, acceptance, and tolerance? Some people will answer that we have made many strides and have come a long way. Others will answer not far enough. The racial incident against an African-American student at San Jose State University is a demonstration of the latter. This incident is appalling. Where was the university leadership? It is understandable that SJSU cannot predetermine an admitted student’s "bigotry tendencies"; however, there is a responsibility at a public university that a tone of tolerance be clearly communicated throughout the fabric of the institution. This message should be communicated first by the SJSU President and, more importantly, throughout the campus even into the residential halls. It is obvious that those who committed these atrocities under the disguise of a "prank" against another human being felt embolden and undoubtedly empowered to do so without fear of University or legal consequences. With an enrollment of 33,000 students and only 3% African-American, what student support services does SJSU have in place to assure students facing racial intolerance can seek out assistance? Now is a good time for SJSU to conduct inward reflection and assess how to grow from this incident. Will there be a time in our history when acceptance and tolerance becomes the norm? It's our hope that institutions of higher learning such as SJSU play a major role in dismantling intolerance and unacceptable racist acts at all levels in the university.
However, as we begin to strive toward this perfect existence, the conversation and work must begin now to prepare a safe and welcoming environment for the next African American student male or female with high expectations moving into a SJSU residential hall.
Deborah Hill-Alston, Santa Cruz NAACP President and