San Jose State fires 18 resident advisers

SAN JOSE, Calif.

The 18 R.A.s worked in several dorms on campus. Now many admit it's hard not to wonder if the incidents aren't just related but also if there's a larger, systemic problem on campus.

"The changes in staffing in residence life were unrelated to the hate crime incident," said LaDoris Cordell, a task force chair.

That's the statement given to task force members from San Jose State's upper management about the mass firings. A line some on this special task force question.

"We're not told anything else except, that it's not that. So that's somewhat of a concern for us," said Marcos Pizzaro, Ph.D., a task force member.

The task force's focus is to not only look into the hate crime allegations made by an African-American student last fall, but also to give recommendations to improve campus life. That student has filed a $5 million claim against the university and his R.A.

"The incident that occurred, I believe, should not have happened and would not have happened if there had been the better training that we are recommending," said Cordell.

Since the university will not reveal more about Wednesday's firings, because they involve personnel matters, speculation is running rampant on campus.

Student Peter Lee knows some of the fired RAs. He told ABC7 News, "It's a hard time to be an R.A. It's a struggle for them right now to look for a place to live, they've been given a week to figure out their living situation."

The university has already filled the vacant positions with R.A.s that were to begin working in the fall.

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