How did this happen and how can it never happen again? Those questions were asked Thursday night by a new task force at San Jose State University. They're investigating an alleged hate crime that took place in the fall of last year when an African American freshman was targeted by his white roommates.
"We must be courageous, we must be honest, and we must be bold," said Ladoris Cordell, the task force chair.
That's how San Jose State's special task force on racial discrimination introduced itself Thursday night. The 18 members are charged with delving into the on campus hate crime allegations from the fall semester when four students were suspended and pleaded not guilty to hazing and beating an African American dormmate.
"I think a lot of things fell through the cracks in this situation," said Gary Daniels, a SJSU student.
A 53-page fact-finding report said the university did not break any of its own policies. But many on the campus wonder how no one investigated after the suspects had a confederate flag in their suite, barricaded the victim in rooms, and put a bike lock around his neck.
"There clearly is a problem. There was a problem at least in this situation. There were red flags, I think, all over the place," said Cordell.
"He is one of us. We are him and just as easily as it happened to him, it could have happened to me," said Daniels.
Even though the victim never wanted to come forward, the report shows many other students knew all about it, but everyone stayed quiet until the victim's parents saw evidence of the hazing during a visit. The next task force meeting will take place Feb. 21.
The meeting was streamed live here.