President Martin’s Message on Diversity

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on March 17, 2016.

Dear campus community,

As many of you know, court proceedings involving three former SJSU students charged with race-based hate crimes and battery against a fellow student ended earlier this week. Although jurors found all three guilty of misdemeanor battery, none were convicted on hate crime charges and all received reduced sentences.

These verdicts and sentencing outcomes left many in our community disappointed; some have expressed outrage. While we respect the independence and discretion of jurors and the courts in reaching these determinations, the offenders’ conduct was unacceptable and incompatible with our values. They are no longer enrolled at SJSU.

It is clear to me—as I believe it is to many of you—that building an inclusive, welcoming climate at SJSU demands sustained effort and contributions, large and small, from all of us. And these efforts need to support the unique academic, cultural and socio-economic needs of a highly diverse student population and campus community.

Some progress has been made. I am writing today to update you on this work. Among many things, our campus:

  • Is completing a search for a chief diversity officer. Finalists for this role will visit campus beginning this Friday, March 18. You can meet each of them during scheduled open forums. The successful candidate will report directly to the president, lead an Office of Diversity and Inclusive Excellence, and spearhead diversity initiatives.
  • Added diversity awareness programming to new-student orientation, student leadership development and residence hall staff training, to increase every student’s sensitivity to others’ perspectives and differences.
  • Hired more resident assistants, bringing the ratio of RAs to resident students to 1-to-35, better than the national average of 1-to-40. This provides a greater degree of monitoring and mentorship in our residential community.
  • Launched task forces to support Chicano/Latino and African American student success by creating support networks and targeted, culturally specific programming and services.
  • Welcomed civil rights icon Ruby Bridges to campus on February 24 to receive the prestigious John Steinbeck Award and participate in an onstage interview on race issues.
  • Hosted KQED Forum for a very candid conversation about campus climate and race issues.

I am proud that students, faculty and staff have taken the lead on many of these and other diversity activities.

But, many challenges remain—among them, clear indicators in recent campus climate surveys that some in our community feel unwelcome, disconnected or unsafe. In some areas, perceptions have worsened over time. Clearly we have much work to do.

I believe an important next step in addressing these concerns is to have a meaningful dialogue that includes an overview of campus climate survey results and facilitated conversations about our future. This is scheduled for April 11 at 10 am in the Student Union Theater; we will follow up next week with additional details.

Together, we can work to make our campus safe and welcoming.

Sue Martin
Interim President

President Martin’s Statement on Hate Crime Sentencing

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-924-1748,

SAN JOSE, CA–The following should be attributed to SJSU Interim President Susan Martin.

We respect the district attorney’s and the court’s discretion in considering appropriate sanctions based on the defendants’ conduct. That notwithstanding, the behavior described in this case is unacceptable, and SJSU is committed to a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students. The three individuals convicted of committing battery on D.J. Williams are no longer enrolled here.


President Martin’s Message on Hate Crimes

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Feb. 22, 2016.

Dear SJSU community,

A jury in Santa Clara County criminal court earlier today returned verdicts on misdemeanor charges against three former SJSU students accused of race-based hate crimes against a fellow student and residence hall suite mate in fall 2013.

All three defendants were found guilty of misdemeanor battery. One of the three was found not guilty of a misdemeanor hate crime; the jury could not reach a verdict on hate crime charges against the other two.

A fourth defendant was a minor when these acts occurred and was adjudicated through the juvenile court. That outcome is confidential.

All four students who engaged in these acts are no longer enrolled at SJSU. The victim and his family are pursuing civil remedies independent of the criminal actions.

Much work lies ahead as we seek to create a truly inclusive, welcoming and safe environment for every member of our community. We continue moving forward on multiple fronts:

Plans are underway to bring campus community members together this semester to openly discuss results of the most recent campus climate survey.

The search for a chief diversity officer is moving toward a conclusion; semifinalist interviews will take place this weekend.

More information will follow on these and other efforts.

Sue Martin
Interim President

President Martin’s Message on Divestment

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Nov. 19. 2015. 

Dear SJSU community,

The SJSU Associated Students (A.S.) board on Wednesday adopted a resolution calling for divestment of invested assets in several companies doing business in Israel, one of which is part of a fund maintained by the SJSU Tower Foundation.

After public comment and board discussion, the resolution was passed on a 10-5 vote, with no abstentions.

I was returning late Wednesday from a CSU trustees meeting in Long Beach and couldn’t be present. But I am told that the debate was vigorous and civil, and that A.S. worked hard to provide equal time for supporters and opponents to speak.

Ensuring room for debate and dissent is essential to the fabric of a public university. I respect our Associated Students leaders for embracing this challenge, and thank all who invested time in expressing their views on such a complex and contentious subject.

The Tower Foundation Board will review, study and discuss the resolution.


Sue Martin
Interim President

California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White to Visit San Jose State Nov. 4

SJSU Media Relations contact:
Pat Harris, 408-924-1748,

SAN JOSE, CA – California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White will visit San Jose State on Nov. 4 to meet with faculty, staff and students. The chancellor’s visit reflects the priority he places on visiting all 23 campuses on a regular basis, with an emphasis on research, innovation and student success.

The visit will include the following events open to the news media:

  • A media availability at 10:25 a.m. in Clark Hall 300. Interim President Susan Martin will provide brief opening remarks and will introduce the chancellor. Reporters will be welcome to ask questions on any topic.
  • An open forum at 11 a.m. in the Student Union Theater (enter off the Ninth Street Plaza). Academic Senate Chair Michael Kimbarow will serve as the moderator. All students, faculty, staff and the public are welcome to attend.
  • Two sessions showing innovative examples of learning within the campus environment. Please contact SJSU Media Relations for more information.

Chancellor White will round out the visit with a campus tour and gatherings with campus community members.

About San Jose State

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 33,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.