Jury deadlocks on hate crime charges in San Jose State case

AP News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2016 10:13 PM

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Three former San Jose State University students were convicted of misdemeanor battery Monday for bullying a black roommate by putting a bicycle lock around his neck, taunting him with racial slurs and barricading him in his room, the school's president said.

A Santa Clara County jury deadlocked on the hate crime charges faced by two of the defendants and acquitted the third of a hate crime, San Jose State's interim president, Sue Martin, said in a statement.

News of the fall 2013 harassment sparked outrage and demonstrations and led the university to appoint a task force that conducted an independent review of the racial climate on campus.

The task force made more than 50 recommendations, such as providing diversity training for all dorm residents; ensuring that staff members made frequent visits to the dorms; and creating an Office of Diversity Engagement and Inclusive Excellence. The school is interviewing candidates for a chief diversity officer, Martin said.

"Much work lies ahead as we seek to create a truly inclusive, welcoming and safe environment for every member of our community," Martin said.

The bullying of the black freshman by his white suitemates came to light after the student's parents visited him and saw a Confederate flag and a dry erase board with a racial epithet written on it in their dorm suite.

The white students, who had pleaded not guilty, subsequently were expelled from San Jose State and barred from enrolling at any other California State University campuses. A fourth student who was a minor at the time was tried in juvenile court.

The bullied student has sued the university.