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Police: Chico State student victim of hate crime attack

April 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Joseph Igbineweka, 23, who grew up in Richmond and went on to become student body president at Chico State, was stabbed near the campus this weekend in what police are calling a hate crime.

Igbineweka built his campaign for president on a platform of making Chico safer. He was elected Chico State's student body president on his promise to install more lighting around campus. He wanted to curb the increasing violence and early Sunday morning, he found himself running to a brightly lit corner.

While walking home from a party near campus, Igbineweka says two men used racial epithets and began following him. One suspect pulled out a knife and stabbed him five times in the neck, chest, stomach and arm.

Police arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him with attempted murder and a hate crime. A 31-year-old man was also arrested, but has not been charged yet. Neither of them are students.

Because he wasn't robbed, Igbineweka agrees that it was simply a hate crime.

"Whereever he goes, he's an icon of responsibility, integrity," said his father Alex Igbeneweka.

Alex Igbineweka said in May his son will finish his tenure as student body president and graduate with a degree in political science. His son graduated from Richmond's Kennedy High School in 2006, where his Advanced Placement English teacher remembers him.

"He shook hands, he was a great communicator with students and all around just happy. And the number one thing I think of Joe is happy," said former teacher David McDonald.

Igbineweka's father, a naturalized American citizen from Nigeria, blames his son's attack on a lack of family values.

"We're so good in science in America, but we're so backward in cultural values. That is the problem right now. We have so many institutions for science and technology. Show me where is the institution for culture?" he said.

This is one of several recent racially motivated incidents on or near California campuses. Last week, someone painted the word "Arab" on a student's campaign sign at Chico State. In other incidents, someone painted a swastika on the campus of UC Davis, and UC San Diego is dealing with the fallout from students who held an event called the "Compton Cookout," which ridiculed blacks.


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