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San Jose Mercury News: San Jose State’s Festering Racial Issues Challenge Black Students

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News March 1, 2014.

By David E. Early and Katy Murphy

SAN JOSE — Whenever touring black high school seniors consider the sprawling San Jose State University campus, they are impressed by the main library named for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and by the majestic statue depicting alums Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raising their fists in the Black Power salute on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics.

“Look at this,” is what an awed Zhane Gay, now a sophomore health science major, thought when she saw the 20-foot-high sculpture on her visit from Southern California. Like so many others, she decided, “This is where I need to be.”

But the recent turmoil over a racial bullying scandal has rattled the campus, and many black students are questioning how a university with these outward symbols of diversity leaves so many of them feeling isolated and lost inside.

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