Deadline hits for independent review of alleged SJSU hate crime

SAN JOSE, Calif.

We expect to learn a great deal from the review; all the facts of what was behind that hazing incident.

Ladoris Cordell is used to controversy and making tough decisions. She's a retired Superior Court judge and is now San Jose's independent police auditor. She monitors police conduct.

"I'm not worried about eggshells, I'm not worried about hurting peoples' feelings," Cordell said. "This is going to be a respectful process, but it's going to be straightforward and it might be tough conversations that we have, but that's okay. That's part of the process."

While it's a new semester, what happened to a black student in a dorm last fall remains fresh in the students' minds. Three students have been charged with the commission of a hate crime and battery, accused of locking a chain around the victim's neck and writing the N-word on a dry-erase board.

Students say they remain skeptical about President Mohammad Qayoumi's leadership.

"I hope he proves us wrong and shows us that he really cares about his students and he wants to see change on this campus and cares about the climate that we're living in every day," San Jose State student Vhane Ghay said.

Other than Cordell, the task force membership is a mystery. President Qayoumi is two weeks past his own deadline to name them.

The task force is to include campus representatives including students, faculty and staff, alumni, CSU experts, and community members.

"My hope is that we're going to have recommendations that are reasonable, that are doable, and that are effective so that a message gets sent to everyone who has anything to do with San Jose State that they understand that is really serious business," Cordell said.

A leading critic of the climate on campus, SJSU Black Unity Group Chairman Gary Daniels, hopes task force recommendations will be implemented, leading to positive change.

"I believe the task force is going to uncover a lot of hidden information that people tried to brush under the rug," Daniels said. "But as far as a solution, I think talking to students and getting student perspectives is the only way to really move forward."

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