San Jose State forms task force to probe hate crime allegations

The president of San Jose State, where four white students allegedly taunted a black student with racial slurs and other abuse, said Thursday he was creating a task force to investigate the incident.

Misdemeanor hate crime and battery charges were filed against the students following the harassment, which allegedly took place between Aug. 20 and Oct. 13 at a campus dorm.

University President Mohammad Qayoumi said that retired superior court judge LaDoris H. Cordell, who is African American, will lead the task force. 

The group will review the facts of the incident and propose recommendations to ensure that the university is a "safe, welcoming, tolerant community," Qayoumi said in a statement.

San Francisco attorney Myron "Mike" D. Moye, who specializes in harassment and discrimination cases, will conduct an independent investigation of the incident and assess the response by university officials. Moye, who also is African American, will prepare a report for the task force.

The students are accused of various actions, including taunting the 17-year-old victim with racial epithets and knocking him down while trying to place a bicycle lock around his neck, according to a report by university police.

A confederate flag was also displayed in the apartment the students shared and a racial slur was written on an eraser board, according to a copy of the report posted online by the San Jose Mercury News.

The confederate flag was draped around a cardboard cutout of Elvis Presley in the living room, the report says. The slur and flag were discovered by the victim after he returned from a weekend at his parents' home, police said.

The incident sparked community outrage and campus protests near the statues of black sprinters and former San Jose students Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who raised their black-gloved fists in protest during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the 1968 Summer Olympics.


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