Issue of the Week LXXX: San Jose State University Discrimination Task Force Issues Recommendations

April 21, 2014
Written by The Associated Press in
National Collegiate Dialogue
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San Jose State University has issued a set of recommendations on how to improve safety and diversity on campus.
San Jose State University has issued a set of recommendations on how to improve safety and diversity on campus. Photo Credit:

A committee formed at San Jose State University after a black student said his white roommates racially harassed and tortured him has issued a set of recommendations to the school on how it can improve safety and diversity on campus.

Some of the recommendations made by the Special Task Force on Racial Discrimination in its final report issued Friday are that the university should: provide diversity training for all students living in the dorms; create web links that allow people to anonymously report race-bias incidents; ensure that staff members make frequent visits to observe activities in dorms; conduct a campus climate survey every other year; and create an Office of Diversity Engagement and Inclusive Excellence.

"The task force has offered more than 50 suggestions," said San Jose State President Mohammad Qayoumi in a statement. "In the aggregate, they reflect the diverse experiences and perspectives on this committee, as well as input offered by others."

But, he added, "There are no easy or quick fixes."

In March, the black student, Donald Williams, filed a $5 million claim against the university over the incident.

Williams's four white suitemates - Logan Beaschler and Colin Warren, both 18, Joseph Bomgardner, 19, and an unidentified juvenile - are accused of putting a bike lock on his neck last fall, taunting him with racial slurs, barricading him in his room and putting up a Confederate flag.

They have pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor hate crime charges.

Editor's Note: What do you think about the four specific recommendations listed in this article?

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

National Collegiate Dialogue


A Good Start

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-07 on

I believe that the recommendations are a good start, but it is not going to be easy and it most definitely is not going to change over night. It will take time to build up these programs and build a following supporting them, but the idea is there and it is a start.

I agree that it is a good

Submitted by PARKF2014-16 on

I agree that it is a good start, but I do not think it will be enough to stop the racism. Students already know about racism - Making them complete classes about diversity probably will not help too much because you cannot change a racist over night. Someone who hates a certain race will most likely keep hating that race even after being lectured about why they should accept everyone. I just could not see it working.

I think what they have

Submitted by PARKS2014-29 on

I think what they have suggested should immediately be implemented to try to bring about change. Although nothing will happen overnight, it is a great start and they have the potential to change at least how crime is conveyed. There also needs to be a change in the students, though.

I agree with you that changes

Submitted by PARKS2014-17 on

I agree with you that changes and the security should start first from students themselves, and they have to change their perspectives towards different skin colors. Also all of the agreements and suggestions should be put into practice.

I agree that people should

Submitted by PARKS2014-30 on

I agree that people should respect everyone, even if they have a different color of skin. However, humans are creatures of habit, and habits are hard to change or break. Ideally people would respect others, but it isn't very realistic to even hope for a change in everyone who discriminates against people of other ethnic groups. No one changes unless they themselves see a need for it.

Although not every single

Submitted by PARKS2014-29 on

Although not every single person will change, college is a place where new ideas can be formed, despite what someone's parents may think. Students tend to expand their frame of mind when they come to college, and sometimes even force them to think about why they (or their parents) believe what they believe. Respect is important and should be implemented and respect is what they are asking for, not necessarily to change everyone's beliefs about everything, just the ability to tolerate.

Being Optomistic

Submitted by PARKF2014-16 on

I sure hope you are right. Racism seems to be passed down by generations and college is a great way to break the chain of hate. It will definitely not be effective for everyone but hopefully there are enough students to make a difference. I believe that fear of punishment is a great way to make students behave. The school officials should implement harsher consequences for racism and hate crimes.

Yes you are right, that

Submitted by PARKS2014-17 on

Yes you are right, that different in color skin does not make different in humanity or dignity. We have to treat each other equally and enjoy the college life and those who leave on campus to feel secured without any worried from their fellow students.

I think it is the university

Submitted by PARKS2014-17 on

I think it is the university to make sure that the students who stay on campus live safety life. So when it comes that even this incidents occur of harrasement a even the parents can start blaming the University administration for not insure enough safety to the students, so i think it is better for the stuff member to keep on visiting the dorms frequently so as to make sure everything is okay.Furthernore, students themselves should live peacefull and accepting each other as they are all students and they are there to study and fulfill their goals, color of someone's skin is not the factor to create quarrels or to act against each other as we are all human beings .

Tough to know where to start

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-08 on

I suppose this is a good start toward ensuring that nothing like this happens again, but unfortunately no amount of supervision or awareness will completely stop hate crimes like this. The education part of his proposition is appealing to me because I do believe that there is a general lack of knowledge about the differences between races among, especially the youth of the United States, but I believe it is a good place to start. It blows my mind that things like this still happen, in the name of the confederacy, as if there is still hope for the sentiments represented by the flag that they waved in his face. Hate crimes like this accomplish absolutely nothing, and it is important for more people to understand the social situation that we currently face with racial inequality, and instead of falling back to slavery-like treatment such as this, fix the justice system which still reflects the racist sentiment of the Jim Crow era.

This is a good start but like

Submitted by PARKS2014-18 on

This is a good start but like you all have said that these changes won't happen over night. And because these changes won't happen over night I feel like people might give up on these changes because they don't see the results fast enough. We sometimes get impatient and give up on things that don't have quick results. In this situation that can't happen. So I really hope that the school stays with it and actually keeps enforcing the right actions and attitudes needed to find the change.

I see your point and these

Submitted by PARKS2014-32 on

I see your point and these changes will be hard to establish. It will definitely be a longer process. However, these changes are also a chance for many people and I do believe that if this committee is persistent and has a long breath, it is possible to make a long term change that can help may people.

I hope and believe that the

Submitted by PARKS2014-29 on

I hope and believe that the students will be able to continue these changes. If enough students strongly believe in changing this university, they will be able to change how other students see things. If enough people push for these changes to happen and keep other (newer) students aware of all of this, I believe everything will continue to improve.

I am agreeing with you that

Submitted by PARKS2014-17 on

I am agreeing with you that changes do not came from outside but start from within, if students themselves they will refuse changes no matter the recommendations made things will still be the same, but if they will decide to change will make even those who do those bad things to their fellow students to stop doing that. Furthermore students should show that they are resisting those criminal incidents and take measures for those who are doing that by reporting them. If cooperation will be there everything will go as black and white.

It is sad that there are

Submitted by PARKS2014-30 on

It is sad that there are people who would do things like this to their fellow humans. However, I suppose there will always be those kinds of people.

Of course yes, it is weird

Submitted by PARKS2014-17 on

Of course yes, it is weird too but those people who are racist should stop for real, because doing that doesn't make any good but increasing crimes and evils.

I like the suggestions that

Submitted by PARKS2014-32 on

I like the suggestions that the committee at San Jose State University has submitted. They seem to be well-conceived. I believe that if once established these recommendations can make a difference for some people. Other universities should think about introducing such committees following to help discrimination diminish. It would be a positive change nationwide.

student cruelty

Submitted by PARKS2014-02 on

I cannot believe some of the things that young people do to each other in college and think that it is funny. It definitely crosses the line when you hurt someone and locked them into places or printed by clock around their neck. I thought it was interesting this article names each of the suspects except the juvenile and I hope they are prosecuted greatly. I think the idea of the anonymous hotline is perfect because it gives everyone the opportunity to safely report anything suspicious without worry about any action being taken against them. I think that diversity training is very vague term and doesn't go very far


Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-29 on

I agree that the diversity training is vague and doesn't go very far. These students will go to this training and the overall message may go in one ear and out of the other. What school wants this type of stuff associated with its name?

More needs to be done

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-29 on

I think recomendations can only do so much. People who are brought up with hatred toward others may not benefit from a diversity training. If the school allows things like this to happen to its minority students, why would anyone who is considered a minority want to go there let alone pay for on campus housing where this goes on. Some people grow up in places where they have little interaction with minorities and then go off to a big college where there are many.


Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-22 on

I think the school should take action because this is a big situation that could be problematic for the school as far as lawsuits for not helping out a student who is being racially harassed and discriminated against. I too would not go to a school where these actions are considered okay. I would not pay for that. Students need to be aware of different cultures when they go to big schools. I know for a fact that some schools are major supporters of international and multicultural students. If this was happening there, there would definitely be consequences.

I agree.

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-26 on

I agree, these are just suggestions. I think serious action needs to be taken as this was not minor racial slurs, but rather harmful physical abuse. I think some of these suggestions should have been implemented on campus already. As for the training, university students should be adults and should not have to go through diversity training as it should be pure common sense. However I think stunts like this should be dealt with in a serious manner and serious action should be taken.

Its a Start

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-22 on

I think that these recommendations can only go so far as well. I feel like some people are so ignorant and don't want change. I feel like people who contribute to racial acts should be confronted and punished in a certain way. No one should have to experience hate because of their skin color. It amazes me that some people have the audacity to still be so cruel. I think the school should make some more regulations just like high schools have regulations and actions about bullying.

I agree that there should be

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-25 on

I agree that there should be some sort of regulation set out for bullying. Racial bias happen, and it's not fair or appropriate so there should definitely be some actions taken. But I don't agree that these recommendations can only go so far. I do think that these recommendations can help, and although they may not reach everyone, they could definitely change a few and that's more equality then we started with. It's all about the little steps that will lead us to the bigger future.

I love the recommendations

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-25 on

I love the recommendations set out in this article. Although it's a small step it is definitely a great step in the right direction. I really like the idea of putting in a safe link that allows you to anonymously report racial bias. I think this is an idea that should be used at all campuses. As well as diversity training, this could be an efficient tool to have. The more people know and are aware, perhaps the less frequent it will happen. I'm not saying this will end racism or hate crimes but becoming aware to the situation is the first step. Kids in general can be cruel but I think if recommendations like this are set in place then the future will look a lot brighter for racial equality.

I love your recommendations

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-17 on

I love your recommendations and I feel the same way. The more options we give kids to bring awareness to racism the easier it will be for us to stop. It is a great first step to a better world for all of us to live in!!

I also think with diversity

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-31 on

I also think with diversity training, racist behaviors that were taught from home could be reversed, and maybe, racist behavior done based off of peer pressure can be discouraged.

These are just suggestions...Serious action needs to be done.

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-26 on

I think the suggestions made are very well thought out, however they are just suggestions. If these are true accusations, serious work needs to be made. These accusations were not minor racial slurs or teasing, but physical abuse that should have never happened, let alone on campus. I feel the way the article was written gives off a very passive, submissive vibe. It sounds like they are beating around the bush and not taking direct action. Some of these suggestions should have already been established and put in place to prevent situations like this from happening. The task force is a great idea, yet serious action needs to be taken.

I agree that actions are

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-13 on

I agree that actions are vitally important. What kind of action related ideas do you think could improve these race related issues at this campus?


Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2014-17 on

I find it interesting that the guy involved was suing the school. Was the school negligent in some way? Where they aware of these four boys and did nothing. I do not this what happened to him was right but to go after the institution that these kids attended seems unjust and unfair. The boys who committed the crime need to punished, it is things like this that can lead to things like the killing of Matthew Shepard. I like the fact that the school brought in an outside source to get an idea of how to fix it, and I think giving students the opportunity to do that right thing.