Calif. Lawmakers to Review Public Colleges’ Handling of Hate Crimes

SACRAMENTO Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) announced on Wednesday the creation of the Assembly Select Committee on Campus Climate, which will investigate issues pertaining to student welfare on college campuses. Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego), who worked as a professor and department chair at San Diego State University for 40 years, will Chair the Committee.

The Select Committee on Campus Climate will evaluate system-wide and campus-wide policies and practices for responding to student harassment and hate crimes and determine what needs to be done to improve campus climate for California students. The date of the first subcommittee meeting is to be announced.

The creation of the committee was prompted by a racial bullying incident at California State University, San Jose, where four white students allegedly taunted their black suitemate from August until October. The four are accused of using racial epithets when addressing the victim, and taunting the victim with Nazi imagery, a Confederate flag, barricading him in his room and on one occasion, clamping a U-shaped bicycle lock around his neck.

“It’s clear from this particularly disturbing incident – one that harkens back to uglier times in our nation’s history – that we still have a lot of work to do to ensure California’s college campuses are safe and welcoming educational environments for every student,” Dr. Weber said. “My committee colleagues and I will be holding hearings over the next year to explore the current campus climate for students throughout in CSU, UC and Community College systems and consider what policy changes are necessary to improve it.”

Read the press release.

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