CSU Super Sunday

San Jose State President Mohammad Qayoumi, faculty and staff attended four San Jose churches to inform families that it’s never too early to strive for higher education during CSU Super Sunday Feb. 16.

Ready for Greatness

Parents and youth, such as Jahne Hill, a high school sophomore, sought more insight into college readiness.

Whatever choices you make now affect what you are going to do in the future, especially for college,” she said.

Grandmother Flavor Dyer, ’81 Liberal Studies, encouraged her three young grandchildren to introduce themselves to Qayoumi at Emmanuel Baptist Church, as she insisted that they too would be doctors.

Greeting the President

Catherine Mann, ’12 Art and Art History, waited for Qayoumi’s arrival after the 8 a.m. service because she wanted to shake the hand of her alma mater’s president.

Qayoumi participated in the entirety of the 11 a.m. service, standing, sitting and bowing in reverence to the speakers, songs and prayers before he spoke to the congregation about financial and admission opportunities within the CSU system.

Despite campus dissonance, Qayoumi said the administration wants to make SJSU more hospitable.

If there are changes that need to be done whether it’s in our training, whether it’s in our outreach, whether it’s the general knowledge [or] whether it’s the policies, changes will be incorporated,” he said.

“Unfortunately, bad things happen in our society. The key is … how do we use that information so that we can strengthen the university?”

 

 

Michael Eric Dyson to Speak at SJSU

Michael Eric Dyson to Speak at SJSU

Michael Eric Dyson to Speak at SJSU

Named one of the 100 most influential black Americans by Ebony magazine, Dyson is a Georgetown University professor of sociology.

“Are we post-racial, or is racism still a problem?” This question—central to shock waves that rocked campus in response to alleged hate crimes at SJSU—is the topic of an upcoming provocative discussion.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. Feb. 24 in Morris Dailey Auditorium with remarks by Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University professor of sociology. Admission is free. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for SJSU students with Tower Card, and 5:45 p.m. for the general public. The event will be streamed live on the web and accessible from the university homepage.

The audience will be encouraged to submit questions in person or via Twitter, using the hashtag #DysonSJSU. The feed will be monitored by a team of students, faculty, staff and administrators who came together in response to the alleged hate crimes. The group is planning a series of events beginning with Dyson, a Detroit native who took an unusual path to becoming one of the nation’s leading African American scholars.

According to his bio, he was a welfare father and factory worker before he began college at age 21. Now an author, minister and political analyst, he bridges academia and pop culture. In addition to penning 17 books, he has appeared in the cartoon strip “The Boondocks,” and been name checked by hip hop legends KRS-1, Black Thought and Nas.

 

Fact Finder Mike Moye

President’s Update: Fact Finder’s Report

President, Judge Cordell and Mike Moye address the media.

President Qayoumi, Judge LaDoris Cordell and lawyer Myron “Mike” D. Moye address the media regarding the release of a fact finder’s report on alleged hate crimes at SJSU (Christina Olivas photo).

 

President Qayoumi emailed the following statement to all faculty, staff and students regarding alleged hate crimes in SJSU’s student housing complex. A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established.

Late last year, I pledged to initiate an independent fact-finding review of alleged hate crimes against one of our students, and establish an independent task force to study those findings and offer recommendations for ensuring a safe, welcoming climate for everyone in the SJSU community.

The fact finder, Myron “Mike” D. Moye, has completed his work, and the report [PDF] has just been provided to the campus and special task force headed by Judge LaDoris Cordell (Ret.). The task force plans to convene for the first time this Thursday, February 6 to begin studying the report.

Judge Cordell and I are firmly committed to an open, transparent process. The public will be able to attend and observe task force meetings; there will be opportunities at some meetings for community members to share their thoughts and suggestions with the task force as a whole. Meetings will be streamed live on the web and accessible from the university homepage.

I am grateful to Mr. Moye for his thoughtful, rigorous work, and to Judge Cordell, the SJSU students, faculty, staff and alumni, the CSU and community members for giving their time and talents to the independent task force. I look forward to receiving and sharing their report, which Judge Cordell has said should be completed by April 30.

Meanwhile, State Assembly Speaker John Perez has created an Assembly Select Committee on Campus Climate. Assemblywoman and San Diego State Professor of Africana Studies Shirley D. Weber will chair the committee, which will hold hearings and make recommendations for the California State University, University of California and California Community College systems. I have met recently with Assemblywoman Weber and Assemblywoman and Speaker Pro Tempore Nora Campos (also a member of the select committee) and assured both that we will work cooperatively with them. I am also meeting with other lawmakers, including Assemblyman and SJSU alumnus Paul Fong.

Our own students remain very active, participating in discussions with the California State Student Association and University of California Student Association and calling meetings here on our campus. During King Day festivities at the library, Diana Crumedy and Gary L. Daniels received the 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award. Daniels is also serving on the special task force. We are proud of their work.

I will continue sending you regular updates on our progress on all of these fronts. Thank you for your patience and support.

Sincerely,
Mohammad Qayoumi
President

Creating the Change for Which They Marched

Black students have rallied, marched and protested their way to recognition, promoting solidarity every step of the way.

Black students have rallied, marched and protested their way to recognition, promoting solidarity every step of the way.

After feeling nearly invisible a year ago, black students last term rallied, marched and protested their way to recognition, promoting solidarity every step of the way.

The result? Stronger relationships and communication within the black community surrounding this year’s Black History Month events.

“We are making great strides, we are more unified than we were a year ago,” said Danielle Miller, ’15 Political Science, and current Black Student Union president.

Taking Notice

Former BSU president Alyxandra Goodwin, ’14 Journalism, has seen changes in the administration’s approach to Black History Month. In the past, she and other black organization members were frustrated and felt that the administration did not take notice.

“Last year, the Black History Month events were all [student-led]. This year, the university sent out a memo for the African-American pioneer posters,” she said. “It’s almost like the university has to give us more recognition.”

Different Perspectives

Sasha Bassett, ‘14 Behavioral Science and Sociology, and MOSAIC diversity advocate intern, said it’s imperative that SJSU honor the different perspectives and cultures on campus.

Gary Daniels, ‘15 Political Science and Alpha Phi Alpha president.

Gary Daniels, ‘15 Political Science, and Alpha Phi Alpha president, added that in the last year, student leaders developed the Black Unity Group, a coalition of student-run black organizations that advocates for the rights of black students as well as other marginalized groups at SJSU.

“We are actually able to work closely with groups of different struggles like Latino students, LGBT groups and women’s groups,” he said. “We’re able to work together on a common basis where we can support each other.”

Displaying Unity

Last February, students marched on “Black Thursday” for recognition of blacks on campus and against the opinion article “Black History Month is Redundant,” published in the Spartan Daily.

Daniels said that the rally was the first display of black unity and the movement has grown.  Danielle Miller predicts this growth will continue, in spite of trials and tribulations.

“If you go to a place and everyone is complaining about something,” Daniels said, “it’s time for you to stop complaining and start standing up.”

What would Dr. King say?

Bronze bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by renowned artist Sascha Schnittmann at King Library (Christina Olivas photo).

Bronze bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by renowned artist Sascha Schnittmann at King Library (Christina Olivas photo).

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The students of San Jose State have long stood on the frontlines of civic and social justice movements. Over the decades, Spartans have rallied against everything from environmental pollution and unfair wages to chemical weapons and, most famously, racial inequality, as immortalized by the statue of Tommie Smith and John Carlos in their 1968 Olympics Black Power salute. This statue, along with the Cesar Chavez Memorial Arch and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, represents the dream of social justice that San Jose State strives to embody.

But, given the recent alleged hate crimes in our residence hall, is true equality still just a dream? With Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day upon us, we’ve turned our ear to the community. Below is a small selection of comments posted on news stories and social media by individuals near and far, along with some of King’s most poignant words.

What do you think King would say today?


“I read that a university freshman was harassed for three months in a dorm community regarding his racial identification, yet the problem was not identified by the university until a parent intervened. I worry that the university is losing the battle of survival in the 21st century.”

-Gerald McMinn, ’72, posted on Washington Square online

King: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus characterthat is the goal of true education.”

“Don’t deny him his education. Make him do community service in the inner city.”

Tim Nourie, posted on KTVU Channel 2’s Facebook page 

King: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

“Haven’t any of you people heard of hazing? I am not saying it’s right; hazing is stupid and unnecessary and causes a lot of BS. Despite what I think, it happens. I agree this kid and his accessories should definitely be slapped with some consequences because of what they did. It doesn’t matter if the victim was black and the perpetrators were white. It was people doing stupid things to a person.”

Brianna Marie, posted on KTVU Channel 2’s Facebook page

King: “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

“Being a blond-haired, blue-eyed, white guy around enough people who assume I probably don’t care for some non-whites and feel free to express their true feelings, I can tell you racism is alive and well in mainstream America. There is still a long fight that needs to be waged, and the fight only gets worse the longer some folks continue to deny that racism is still a factor in America. It is, be embarrassed by it, and don’t perpetuate it by pretending it isn’t.”

Andy, posted on CNN’s website

King: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

“Perhaps a little jail time might help…but that costs money and it’s time to stop trying to jail or imprison everyone who doesn’t think like you. Could there perhaps be a teach-in, and allow them to admit they were wrong without resorting to jail or prison? Unless you’re hell-bent on vengeance, I think that’s a better direction to go in.”

Blair Whitney, posted on the Mercury News’ website

King: “I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.”

Remembering Dr. King

As sunlight streamed through the 20-foot-tall glass walls of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library foyer, people from all walks of life gathered Jan. 15 to sing, dance and speak in memory of the nation’s beloved civil rights leader.

Organizers dedicated this year’s King Day event to Nelson Mandela, given both men were “united in the struggle to combat human suffering.”

SJSU students Diana Crumedy and Gary L. Daniels received the 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” said Dorothy Poole, chief of staff for the Office of the President.

Quoting King during her remarks, she noted that while conditions in our country have improved in some ways, college graduation rates for people of color continue to lag, a point especially relevant in this library, which jointly serves the city and university.

As the program ended, the voices of everyone in attendance echoed up through a permanent banner display overhead. One featuring Dr. King is especially poignant this year.

His quote? “The complete education gives one not only the power of concentration but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.”

San Jose Mercury News Editorial: LaDoris Cordell a Good Choice for San Jose State Task Force

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News Dec. 6, 2013.

If San Jose State University President Mo Qayoumi wanted a task force that would sweep racial conflicts under the dormitory rug, he made a huge mistake in appointing retired Judge LaDoris Cordell to head it.

Cordell’s outspoken nature is of legendary proportion. Most recently, she authored a column on these pages urging felony charges against the white freshmen accused of hate crimes for tormenting their African-American roommate — the incident that prompted Qayoumi to create the task force. And she has dealt with university challenges as vice provost at Stanford. By naming her, Qayoumi signals a determination to confront and overcome this trauma. It’s a very good choice.

President’s Update: An Independent Review of the Facts

President Qayoumi names Judge LaDoris H. Cordell to lead a task force that will review all the facts and propose recommendations for nurturing a safe, welcoming, tolerant community. (Photo: Christina Olivas)

President Qayoumi emailed the following statement to all faculty, staff and students regarding alleged hate crimes in SJSU’s student housing complex. A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established.

Dear Spartans,
I’m touching base to share additional information about the efforts to move the campus forward toward healing and recovery from the alleged race-related incident that occurred this fall in one of our residence halls.

Last week, I promised to initiate an independent review of the facts.  I’m pleased to report that Judge LaDoris H. Cordell (retired) has agreed to lead a special task force that will have two goals:

  1. Review all of the facts.
  2. Propose recommendations for ensuring that San Jose State is a safe, welcoming, tolerant community.

Judge Cordell served the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, for 19 years before becoming the independent police auditor for the City of San Jose in 2010. Throughout her career, Judge Cordell has sought to give a voice to the unheard. I am grateful that she is willing and available to serve in this critical role.

The work of the special task force will be informed by an independent fact-finding effort. Myron “Mike” D. Moye, a partner at law firm Hanson Bridgett LLP, has been retained to conduct the fact-finding effort and produce a report that will be presented to the special task force. Moye has extensive experience in cases involving harassment, discrimination, ethics and regulatory compliance.

The fact finding will begin immediately and seeks to:

  1. Determine, to the extent possible, what happened, when it happened, and who the alleged perpetrators are.
  2. Determine when and how the campus knew of the alleged incident, or should have known of it.
  3. Determine how and when the campus administration responded to the alleged incident.
  4. Determine whether the campus or any of its employees violated any existing campus or systemwide policies in responding to the alleged incident.  Determine the extent to which such policies, procedures and practices were followed.

Moye has been asked to produce his report by January 31, 2014. The special task force will receive the report and begin its work in February, and issue a final public report by April 30. Task force members will include a diverse mixture of SJSU students, faculty and staff members and alumni; subject-matter experts within the California State University; and community members.  Its membership will be finalized by January 15.

Let me also update you on two related matters.

As many of you know, San Jose State has undertaken previous efforts to make diversity an intentional, holistic element of our teaching and learning mission. In spring 2013, we solicited nominations for a Commission on Diversity. Its members were appointed in August 2013 and the group met for the first time this fall. The commission will meet again this month and will have the opportunity to consider the recommendations of the special task force in its work going forward.

In an earlier message to you, I outlined plans for a forum on racial intolerance to be held on campus in the first two weeks of December. After consultation with student groups, we are postponing this event to early next year in order to maximize participation. We need students to play a prominent role in planning the gathering, and there is insufficient time to do this now as they are preparing for final exams.

I appreciate the many ways our community has responded in the last two weeks.  Much work lies ahead.  A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established. Please continue to reach out to me, and to one another.

Sincerely,
Mohammad Qayoumi
President

President’s Update: Holding Ourselves Accountable

University Housing Campus Village

“We will re-examine our diversity programs and safety measures within campus housing and throughout the university.” —President Qayoumi (Photo: Christina Olivas)

President Qayoumi emailed the following statement to all faculty, staff and students regarding alleged hate crimes in SJSU’s student housing complex. A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established.

Dear Spartans,

When I expressed outrage last Thursday at the race-based abuse and mistreatment of an African-American SJSU freshman by several suite mates, I did not clearly express our accountability for what he endured.

By failing to recognize the meaning of a Confederate flag, intervene earlier to stop the abuse, or impose sanctions as soon as the gravity of the behavior became clear, we failed him. I failed him.

How such abuse could have gone unchecked or undetected for weeks is being methodically untangled, as it must. An independent expert will soon be named to lead a task force that will examine the facts, our policies and practices, and propose reforms.

Some anger is being directed toward residence hall advisers (RAs) for failing to recognize or act on warning signs of abuse. It is our job as professional educators to help them recognize these signs. Their failures are our failures. We must do a better job of training them, and we will.

If our housing and student disciplinary policies and processes are inadequate or not followed, it is up to us as administrators to ensure that they work, or fix them.

Now, let me update you on specifically what we have done and are doing:

  • Sunday night, SJSU faculty leaders and administrators, including housing staff, met with students in the Dining Commons. I heard plenty of pain, anger and confusion, questions about our commitment to diversity, and pleas to be included in future decisions.
  • As I shared on Friday, the San Jose/Silicon Valley chapter of the NAACP will be on campus at noon today in front of the Smith/Carlos sculpture to express dissatisfaction with pending criminal charges and ask for a full examination of this incident.

I will participate in this event, and encourage you to attend if you can. The abusive conduct that occurred in this case should be punished, to the fullest extent that the law allows.

  • We will continue listening. More sessions with students are in the works and an open campus forum will take place during the first two weeks of December.
  • Additional training for RAs is being planned. Details will follow soon.
  • We have begun reaching out to candidates to serve on the external task force. If you have suggestions, please send them to sjsupres@sjsu.edu.

Sincerely,
Mohammad Qayoumi
President

Brandon Crew Photo

NAACP: News Conference Nov. 25 at SJSU

Photo: Brandon Chew, ’15 Photojournalism

San Jose State is sharing the following on behalf of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter of the NAACP. Media inquiries should be directed to Rick Callender, callenderr@aol.com.

On Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, at noon in front of the Tommie Smith and John Carlos sculpture on the San Jose State campus, the San Jose/Silicon Valley National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will be joined by the California/Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP, the National Office of the NAACP, San Jose State University leadership, Bay Area community leaders and civil rights activists in a press conference condemning the actions of the three San Jose State students accused of racially harassing and terrorizing a black student.

The NAACP will be calling for the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office to increase the misdemeanor charges against the three accused SJSU students to felony charges, and also to add the charges of false imprisonment to the charges that the students currently face.

Reverend Jethroe Moore II, president of the San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP said, “The community will not stand idly by and allow for any student of color to be terrorized simply due to the color of his skin. This is not simple hazing or bullying, this is obviously racially based terrorism targeted at their African American roommate. The behavior of these three students warrants nothing less than felony charges.”

The NAACP will also be calling on the San Jose State University administration to conduct a thorough investigation into University Housing to determine how this situation continued for so long and why no immediate action to rectify the situation was taken.

President’s Update: Listening, Learning

President Qayoumi’s update to the campus community following the alleged hate crimes in SJSU’s student housing complex. A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established.

“This deeply disturbing incident reaffirms that we must protect and steward our values. I am proud of all who marched in support of them.” —President Qayoumi (Photo: Brandon Chew)

Dear Spartans,

I want to update you on our actions since yesterday (Thursday, Nov. 21) when criminal arrest warrants were issued for several SJSU students accused of racially-motivated hate crimes against a fellow student and residence hall suite-mate.

First, a fourth SJSU student has been suspended in connection with this incident. His actions came to light recently in the course of several ongoing investigations.

Second, I met Friday morning with the Reverend Jethroe Moore, president of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter of the NAACP. Reverend Moore and I agreed to several actions:

• Appearing together at a noon press conference on Mon., Nov. 25, in front of the Smith/Carlos sculpture to discuss pending criminal charges.

• Co-hosting a campus forum during the first two weeks of December, inviting community input about racial tolerance at SJSU and beginning a dialogue on how to heal rifts.

• Offering a spring 2014 lecture series on issues of diversity and tolerance.

While these efforts move forward, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of SJSU’s student code of conduct. Our goal is including race-based misconduct in existing zero-tolerance student conduct policies.

Third, we will review all of our practices and policies related to preserving and protecting the well being of students. This work has already begun. I have asked for a report by Dec. 15, and we will share it with you.

I will continue to keep you updated.

Sincerely,

Mohammad Qayoumi
President

President’s Update: Racial Intolerance

President Qayoumi emailed the following statement to all faculty, staff and students regarding alleged hate crimes in SJSU’s student housing complex.A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established.

Dear Spartans,

As many of you know, the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office has filed criminal charges against three San Jose State students accused of recurrent abusive behavior toward a fellow student in their residence hall suite this fall.

Let me be clear: I am outraged and saddened by these allegations. They are utterly inconsistent with our long cherished history of tolerance, respect for diversity and personal civility. The three students suspected of this conduct have been suspended, effective today.

The misdemeanor battery charges include a hate-crime enhancement based on indications that the victim, an African-American freshman, was targeted based on race. I want you to know how San Jose State has responded thus far, and our intentions moving forward.

Our paramount initial concern was the safety of the victimized student. The day our housing staff learned of the situation, the University Police Department launched an investigation. Also that day, two of the accused students were relocated to separate residence halls and not placed with roommates.

A third suite-mate, originally believed to be a bystander, was identified yesterday as an offender. We regret he was not removed from the victim’s suite before today.

Parallel internal inquiries, one based on university student conduct policies and another focused on federal anti-discrimination regulations, are ongoing.

We speak very directly to all freshmen about discrimination and harassment during orientation and at hall meetings. We will re-examine our diversity programs and safety measures within campus housing and throughout the university.

Diversity and a commitment to social justice are in SJSU’s institutional DNA. Our library is named for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; many of us pass daily by the sculpture of Tommie Smith and John Carlos or under the Cesar E. Chavez Arch. This deeply disturbing incident reaffirms that we must protect and steward our values. I am proud of all who marched today in support of them.

I know many of you will have questions and concerns. Please feel free to
contact my office
.

Sincerely,

Mohammad Qayoumi
President
sjsupres@sjsu.edu