Hate Crime Task Force Urges San Jose State to Take Action

After two months of discussion, a task force formed in the wake of hate crimes that allegedly victimized a San Jose State University freshman completed a set of recommendations. At its final meeting Thursday night, the committee warned school President Mo Qayoumi that the public will continue to keep him under a microscope.

“The victim, his parents and the world have been watching us, and they will be watching you,” said LaDoris Cordell, committee chair, retired judge and San Jose’s independent police auditor. “I am confident that you and your administration will do the right thing now that our work is done.”

The panel asked the university to improve training for residence hall staff to teach them how to deal with prejudice, form a diversity office to monitor campus climate and make diversity courses a requirement for all students. It also suggested placing a link on the school’s website homepage for people to report hate crimes. Read the entire list here.

“One thing I can give you is 100 percent assurance that each and every one of those recommendations will be closely looked at and seriously reviewed,” Qayoumi responded.

Cordell said that the victim and his family “were enthusiastically supportive” of the directives.

“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” Cordell said. “Now is the time to use this ugly incident of racial bullying to bring positive and long-lasting change to San Jose State University.”

In the case making its way through criminal court, prosecutors say four white students physically assaulted their African American roommate, locked him in a closet, scrawled racist epithets on a white board, hung up a Confederate flag and twice clamped a bike lock around his neck. Logan Beaschler, Colin Warren, Joseph Bomgardner and an unnamed minor are due in court next week for a pretrial hearing.

The school suspended the suspects in November, after the District Attorney’s Office pressed charges. The victim, 18-year-old engineering student Donald Williams Jr., filed a $5 million claim in March, claiming the school failed to pick up on signs of abuse.

Over the course of its meetings, the task force often referenced a years-old study on campus climate that described some of the prejudice experienced by students from peers and faculty.

Qayoumi’s predecessor ordered the report authored by SJSU sociologist Susan B. Murray in 2011. But no action was taken and Qayoumi dissolved the advisory panel attached to the study to form a diversity commission of his own. But one of the recommendations handed down this week would re-form that older panel, the Campus Climate Committee, and grant it more authority.

Qayoumi vowed to implement the proposed changes.

“The recommendations will not be easy fixes,” he said. “It requires a lot of careful consideration and I can promise you that a lot of these items will get very timely consideration.”

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. “The victim, his parents and the world have been watching us, and they will be watching you,” said LaDoris Cordell

    The world? Really? What an insult to: Ukrainians facing a civil war; South Koreans mourning the loss of hundreds of innocent school children; Iraqis liberated of their wellbeing; starving Somalis; Japanese tsunami victims trying to rebuild their lives; Americans cowering in fear of “urban” criminality. Is Ms. Cordell that delusional? Such grandiosity, though commonly produced by the unrestrained imaginations of narcissistic preschoolers, has become the mark of the outraged minority community, as they stretch and strain to reach a bit deeper into every deep pocket within reach.

    Prejudice training, a diversity office, and mandatory diversity courses equals new positions and easy money for the likes of LaDoris Cordell, a person who parades herself around as prejudice-free but fools only the fools. These demands are nothing but a shakedown being led by this area’s most experienced shakedown artist.

    • Best commentary on the internet as usual FF.
      Is Ms. Cordell that delusional? Well, she’s either delusional or empowered. In the local liberal echo chamber, destructive leeches like her can say whatever they want and nobody challenges them. Nobody challenges her because next time they might need HER support in a shakedown that they are sponsoring or stand to cash in on.
      The local entrenched Democrat governing establishment has actually come to believe that the job of Government is to extract money from the deep pockets of perceived wrongdoers. Period.

  2. Cordell and Jayadev are doing such a “great” job that Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson don’t have to darken SJ’s doors any longer. Is that a plus, or just a trade-off??

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