Protesters Decry Verdict in San Jose State Hate Crime Case

Outraged over the outcome of a racial bullying case, San Jose State University students rallied Thursday to denounce the verdict and the school’s response to the scandal.

The Black Unity Group met with various campus organizations outside Tower Hall as the clock struck noon. Many of them wore black or T-shirts emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter.” Two students held up a gray-scale American flag.

“We are here to come together as a student community to fervently disavow and publicly express our disappointment and anger towards the verdict of the hate crime trial,” students from the Black Unity Group wrote in a statement. “We are woke to the fact that this entire situation is indicative of the grave issues with larger systems of inequality, racism, white supremacy and centrality, and the biased criminal justice system.”

On Monday, former SJSU students Logan Beaschler and Colin Warren were sentenced to a month in jail or weekend work for the 2013 assault of Donald Williams Jr. during his freshman year. A dorm-mate, Joseph Bomgardner, came away with no weekend duty, a one-day jail sentence and credit for time served. They must also complete 50 hours of volunteer work and a sensitivity class on African-American history.

The defendants, who are all white, were also accused of committing a hate crime by force. A jury acquitted Bomgardner of the hate crime allegation and declared a mistrial for the other two defendants.

Protestors called the verdict unjust for dismissing the hate crime charges, when the harassment against Williams was racially motivated. Williams told police his roommates placed a bike lock around his neck, hung swastikas and a Confederate flag in their dorm and called him “Three-Fifths” and “Fraction.”

“This verdict and sentencing has reopened the wounds that we as a community have been working towards healing in the time since it occurred,” the Black Student Union wrote. “It makes us realize how much work still needs to be done on our campus, in our city, and in our country, especially in a time when America is very visibly rearing it's racism openly with the rise of Donald Drumpf’s presidential campaign. We are deeply frustrated with the lack of hate crime charges and the ridiculously minimal sentencing of just a mere 30 days of punishment which only adds insult to injury to us as a community, but most over, to the victim, Donald Willams Jr.”

SJSU’s interim president Sue Martin sent out a campus-wide email the morning before the protest to list some of the steps the school has taken to ease racial tensions on campus.

“While we respect the independence and discretion of jurors and the courts in reaching these determinations, the offenders’ conduct was unacceptable and incompatible with our values,” she wrote. “They are no longer enrolled at SJSU.
 It is clear to me—as I believe it is to many of you—that building an inclusive, welcoming climate at SJSU demands sustained effort and contributions, large and small, from all of us.”

The school is close to hiring a chief diversity officer, Martin said. In the wake of the hate crime case, it added diversity awareness curriculum in new-student orientations, leadership and residence hall trainings. It also launched a committee to support Chicano, Latino and African American students and hired more resident assistants for campus housing.

The Black Unity Group, however, said the school must do more to quell racial tensions on campus. In a list of demands, the group also called for a zero tolerance policy for racial harassment and a formal apology for the racial harassment against Williams.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

19 Comments

  1. How is the University responsible for the actions of these three knuckleheads? Students I know who attend classes at SJSU strongly disagree with the idea that there are “racial tensions on campus.”

    • > Obviously our justice system was broken this day.

      Robert Michael:

      Are you confident that laws against “hate crimes” are equitably applied, or is the justice system as it applies to the prosecution of “hate crimes” broken?

      Give is some statistics about how many prosecutions for hate crimes there have been in the U.S.

      Is there any evidence of “disparate impact”? Are some groups prosecuted for “hate crimes” more than other groups?

      • SJO I respect you enough to speak candidly, and without looking at statistical data I’m betting white males lead the list of people prosecuted for hate crimes.

        Unfortunately hate crimes know no race, and the bias is tipped in favor of non whites when accused of hate crimes. There was a crime a few years back in Evergreen, some Mexican guys decided to beat up an Indian guy, while yelling, “YOU”RE AL QUAIDA! TERRORIST!”

        The whole hate crime enhancement as you guessed, was dropped. Guys ended up doing 7 years.
        http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_20132464/arrest-made-san-jose-parking-lot-attack

        Thing is though as a caucasian, I realize we have a cross to bear. If we don’t start holding our own intolerance in check first, how can we expect to hold other races intolerances accountable? I’ve heard the lame college “safe place” diatribe on how non-caucasian cannot be racist, and that’s bull. Everyone hates everyone, end of story.

        • Well, against my better judgment, like the guy who rubs his hand with meat then sticks it into the piranha tank, allow me to toss this in.

          Racism has, does, and unfortunately probably always will exist. That doesn’t make it right; it’s just part of human nature and ignorance. Slavery was not invented in the Southern U.S. Slavery has existed throughout the world and throughout history but the US is the only country in the history of the world that has ever fought a war to end it.

          Ever since the Civil Rights movement (which should be another source of national pride), racism has lost the legitimacy and authority it once had. There are no more separate drinking fountains and overt exclusion. If you need more convincing, go use the “n-word” (see, I can’t even write it) anywhere and you will be fired from your job, branded a bigot for life, probably never be able to get another job without extreme difficulty, ostracized; thrown out of any restaurant , theater or any place of public assemblage or expelled from school. It’s just a word but it is one of the most formidable socio-political weapons that race peddlers have at their disposal.

          Hate crime is a political matter. Was O.J. charged with a “hate crime”? Was O.J. even charged with “domestic violence”? Of course not. Were there riots in the streets after O.J. killed two members of society’s “oppressor class” and was subsequently acquitted? Of course not. Would O.J.’s victims have been any less dead if he had been charged with a “hate crime”? Of course not. The little miscreant involved in the incident in question was convicted. He just wasn’t convicted of a supposed hate crime.

          His life is over my friends. He will never get a job in the public sector and most businesses in the private sector will stay clear of hiring someone with a big “B” (for bigot) tattooed on his forehead (by court records, google search, and news sources). It is easier for an ex-felon to get a job than for a labeled/certified bigot. An ex-con can be “rehabilitated” and made “a productive member of society”. A bigot (real or imagined) is not worthy of redemption.What the little miscreant did was wrong. Does it really matter what he may have been thinking when he did it or what the victim looked like?

    • ROBERT MICHAEL CORTESE says:

      Have to agree with their frustration. This kid was the victim of a hate crime.

      So the response is to ratchet up the hatred? Even though the bullies served jail time, anything short of the death penalty would be unacceptable to these haters. They’re acting like the bullies were let off scot free.

      These students would be far better members of society if they spent half the energy they waste on hating people, on getting eduacted instead:

      “We are woke to the fact that this entire situation is indicative of the grave issues with larger systems of inequality, racism, white supremacy and centrality, and the biased criminal justice system.”

      When I was a student a sentence like that would have gotten me an F.

      And the ‘biased’ criminal justice system bends over backward to placate these ‘victims’. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ folks’ message is clear: White lives don’t matter. The justice system is now heavily biased toward black students — based on their race. And “white supremacy”?? Don’t get me started…

      This whole episode reminds me of the Russian revolution. When the revolutionaries had finally won, they didn’t try to construct a fair and decent society. Instead, they simply ensconced themselves in the aristocrats’ apartments and dachas, and carried on exactly the same as the Romanovs had, lording it over the peons — who were no better off after the revolution than before.

      These ‘Black Lives Matter” hypocrites just want to turn the tables; to get even. They are motivated by revenge. They have zero interest in making American race relations any better. Truth be told, they want things to get worse, just so long as they are the ones who benefit. And what’s really disgusting are their guilt-ridden white enablers. Know who I’m talking about, Mr. “I realize we have a cross to bear” Cortese?

      I don’t have a cross to bear, other than the one inflicted for things I never did, and never condoned. These delicate snowflakes believe they’re so put upon because that’s how they’ve been programmed by the media, by the .edu factories, and by the President himself.

      Mr. Cortese, if it’s wrong for one race to engage in ‘hate crimes’, then it’s equally wrong for any other race to do the same thing. But your argument doesn’t go in that direction at all. Instead, you want people to pay for crimes they never committed, and that they don’t agree with. That makes you part of this ongoing race problem, rather than being any kind of solution.

      • >> And what’s really disgusting are their guilt-ridden white enablers. Know who I’m talking about, Mr. “I realize we have a cross to bear” Cortese?

        You can disagree with me all you want, but I don’t think justice was served in this case. The guy was called the “N” word, had a kryptonite bike lock around his neck, called three fifths, locked in a closet and had to endure racist imagery around the house.

        Anyone with a 1/2 a brain cell can see all of that treatment was racially motivated. If you want to continue denying that, you are being nothing more than intellectually dishonest. I don’t really believe you’re that way, or maybe I just don’t want to believe it.

      • One of the better responses. More thought out and evidently better informed than most.

        He was not called the N-Word at anytime..the guy you replied to needs to get his facts straight. He was not locked in a the closet. The bike lock was not a kryptonite. Cortese needs to stop spreading BS.

  2. From SJSU’s job posting to a “chief diversity officer”.

    “Nationally, and at SJSU, campuses are experiencing more conversation about
    the lack of inclusiveness and racism.”

    SJSU MUST explicitly define what it means by the term “racism”.

    “Progressives” are all sure they KNOW what “racism” is. But they’re like the supreme court justice whose definition of “pornography” was “I know it when I see it”.

    The reason SJSU MUST formally and officially define “racism” is to determine whether or not SJSU us relying on the invidious and malignant usage of the term that is commonly and widely PRESUMED by those in the race industry.

    And that common presumption is that “racism” is EXCLUSIVELY an attitude of “white people”, and ONLY white people can be “racist”.

    If anyone doubts that that is an unstated but unquestioned definition of “racism” in the common vernacular of “progressives”, I challenge them to name persons of “non-white race” who progressives would recognize as “racist”.

    Names some names of African American racists.
    Name some Hispanic racists.
    Name some Asian racists.

    Unless and until SJSU can demonstrate that the use of the term “racism” is broadly inclusive of persons of ANY race and all races, it’s “chief diversity officer” is nothing more than a “chief anti-white officer”.

    • Mr. SJOBubble,

      What is a racist? A racist is anyone who can tell the difference and bigotry exists in direct proportion to the degree of importance that the racist places on such distinctions. However, as I learned all those many years ago during an Ethnic Studies class I took at SJSU, only White people can be bigots because all others are only reacting to the mistreatment and injustice they have suffered under the auspices of the “White Culture”. As well, only White people can have “white privilege”. Everyone else is just receiving justice, i.e., the righting of a previous wrong, if they are given any preference, such as affirmative action.

      This line of reasoning tends to break down though when one considers the “problem” of mixed race or “mixed heritage” (!?!) individuals. Although I have never donned a war bonnet or hunted a buffalo, I do have some Native American (or American Indian; or Indian; or if you play football, “Redskin”) ancestry in my family tree. However, since the amount is small and I still appear to be a “pale face”, I am still, according to the definition, a “tomahonky”, as it were. It seems then that if one is mixed race, one is reduced to the least common racial denominator based on appearance, I guess. It’s never been that important to me.

      We should all be issued “race cards”, like a driver’s license or other government photo ID (racial passports?) so that we can have our race verified at the time of issuance in order that we may know within which “victim” or “oppressor” group we rightly belong. This would obviously be of great importance to some people whenever anyone was protesting, rioting, being called a nasty name or had the hell beat out of him.

      Then again, maybe there is something to it. I am reminded of a conversation I had with my great grandfather who died in 1978 at the age of 91. Although he did smoke, he gave some credit for his longevity to having never drank “the white man’s poison” (Nowadays I’m not so sure he meant alcohol and not race-rhetoric). After seeing a little feeble swirl of attempted controversy in a newscast involving the (stereotyping!!!) names of sports teams (Chiefs; Indians; Braves: Redskins, etc), I asked him what he thought. He told me, to the effect of, “Only the white man cares about such things”. He did tell me though that he would have loved to see a Super Bowl between the Washington Redskins and the Montana Custers.

      • > However, as I learned all those many years ago during an Ethnic Studies class I took at SJSU, only White people can be bigots because all others are only reacting to the mistreatment and injustice they have suffered under the auspices of the “White Culture”.

        I suspect that the main job of the SJSU Chief Diversity Officer might be to continue the tradition of learning.

  3. Here is the gotcha qualification for the SJSU “Chief Diversity Officer”:

    “Preferred Qualifications

    • Strong working knowledge of social justice theories, scholarship, trends, and best
    practices in higher education.
    • Experience managing organizational change”

    Lets put our thinking caps on.

    WHO would have a “Strong working knowledge of social justice theories”?

    Would that be a “straight white male evangelical Christian”?

    Or would that be a George Soros funded “social justice warrior” from “Black Lives Matter”?

    The fix is in.

    This position is just a scheme to get a progressive activist on the government payroll. so that the taxpayers have to pay for political indoctrination of SJSU students.

    • Some good points here SJO.

      That said, nothing in theory prevents a straight white male evangelical from being interested in, or having a background in, “social justice theories.” They may be different theories, I acknowledge.

      If your point is that this is coded language, yes — probably so. But coded language exists on both the far left and the far right. “Learn to be American” and “we speak English here” too often are proxies for what — 50 years ago — would have been “we don’t like your kind around these parts.” So when I hear the far right blame someone for “playing the race card” or “injecting politics” after they have been called on their own coded language, I sometimes have the same reaction.

      That said, again — you make some good points. So don’t get too riled up.

  4. Imagine the kerfuffle that would follow should a white play-by-play man make this comment during an NFL game:

    “Barkevius Mingo? Is that his real first name or a typo?”

    The announcer would be denounced for his racial insensitivity, ridiculed for his ignorance of black cultural values, and most certainly canned. Despite the legitimacy of the question — one that could be asked about dozens of player names, because white people are expected to react to African-American behavior (no matter how bizarre or offensive) as if it were sanctified by Jesus himself, asking such a question is indistinguishable from career suicide.

    The Green Bay Packers have a player with the ridiculous first name of “Ha Ha,” yet I’ve never seen this name treated as if it were at all unusual. It’s as if we are all living in a comedy skit, walking on eggshells so as not to offend the morons. Thus, you can imagine my surprise when I saw a recent story* in the Merc with the headline, “Derek Carr’s Newborn Son Has a Name That Looks Like a Typo.”

    Before I could even recall a thing about Derek Carr I knew he had to be a white man, because only the behavior of white males can be treated by the media so cavalierly. Mr. Carr’s decision to transpose the r and k from his own name and christen his boy, Deker, was of questionable news value but certainly no where near as weird and worth examining as are first names such as D’Brickashaw, Craphonso, or any of the other NFL abominations the media pretends not to notice.

    Using prejudice and discrimination as a measure of racism, a fair assessment of its practices would find the media (news and entertainment) as the most racist institution in America. Nowhere else is it so obvious a practice to use race as the basis for interpreting and presenting a product. Add a racial element to offensive dorm room behavior and you have a university-wide scandal and a politically-inspired effort to ruin the lives of immature teenagers. Take race out of the same story and there is no story, no prosecution, no whining from half-wit student groups. There have been heinous crimes at SJSU, rapes and murders even, in which the media showed no interest in either the racial element or in endlessly repeating and reprinting the names of the accused/convicted (the digital age equivalent of the scarlet letter, sufficiently stuffing search engines and archives so as to create enduring, inescapable ruination).

    *http://www.mercurynews.com/sports/ci_29649404/derek-carrs-newborn-son-has-name-that-looks

  5. > • Strong working knowledge of social justice theories, scholarship, trends, and best
    practices in higher education.

    Well, if SJSU wants their “Chief Diversity Officer” to have a “strong working knowledge of social justice theories”, do you suppose they want the CDO to be in favor of “social justice” or opposed to “social justice”?

    Duh!

    “Social Justice Warrior”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Justice_Warrior

    “Social Justice Warrior”, commonly abbreviated as “SJW”, is a pejorative term for a person expressing or promoting socially progressive views, particularly relating to social liberalism, political correctness or feminism.[1][2] The accusation of being an SJW implies that a person is engaging in disingenuous social justice arguments or activism to raise his or her personal reputation.[3] “

  6. This discussion is ignoring the changes in American life that buttress differing treatment (real or perceived) for different demographic groups. It begins in the first half of the 20th century, approximately 1910 to 1952, with the introduction of “pluralism.” Resisted by presidents like Teddy Roosevelt who argued for a unified idea of America, but who failed to initiate steps to make it a genuinely unified American, the idea of “pluralism” eventually won the ideological fight. It was accomplished by shouting down the advocates of a unified America…I easily recall reading articles in our family’s daily paper in the late Forties and early Fifties reporting about horrid, despicable things said about politicians who resisted the notion of “pluralism.” This would be a far better country if “pluralism” hadn’t destabilized the trend to inclusion of all Americans, but it certainly did just that.

    Then “pluralism” morphed into “multiculturalism” in the late Fifties and the Sixties which broadened the divisiveness of American society according to one’s heritage and culture. Efforts toward inclusiveness were directly opposed by the “multiculturalists” who were primarily interested in keeping society divided. Then “multiculturalism” morphed into “multiracialism” which gave new life to those who seek to divide society along putative biological lines instead of seeking to unify society. That’s the stage we live in now.

    And the next thing that is being born is a variety of “multinational” ideology which provides state powers to some groups in unequal measure. It won’t be pretty, but then taking a nation from an ideology of “one America” all the way to “many Americas” will never be pretty. Wear your seatbelts.

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