Students gather in front of the San Jose State University dorms during a march that coincided with an NAACP press conference at San Jose State University in San Jose, Calif. on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. Students were seeking a voice in light of the recent racial hate crime that occurred when four white students allegedly abused their African-American roommate while living in the school dorms. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group)
SAN JOSE -- Katy Murphy of the San Jose Mercury News reported that two years before this month's explosive hate-crime charge ignited outrage and intensified scrutiny of race relations at San Jose State, an in-depth study found that black students experienced troubling and sometimes racist behavior from professors, coaches and other students.
But the 100-page report -- commissioned by a previous SJSU president and submitted to the new administration in 2011 -- was never publicized, and incoming President Mo Qayoumi disbanded the advisory group behind the project to start his own committee on diversity. That group has met only once -- this fall -- in the months before last week's revelations that four white students had been charged with tormenting a black roommate in their dorm for weeks.
Some student leaders say they stumbled upon the report this spring -- after trying to convey to the school very similar concerns about faculty diversity and stereotypes.
"I was just surprised that pretty much everything we were trying to bring to the university's attention was already brought to the university's attention two years ago," said Gary Daniels, a student and president of the Black Unity Group, "and nothing was done about it."
The hate-crime case has focused national attention on San Jose State, with black students and community leaders protesting under one of the campus' enduring symbols of the civil rights movement: the towering Black Power statue of Olympic sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos with fists raised high.