SAN JOSE (KRON)—The president of San Jose State University released a statement after a Muslim student was attacked Wednesday following the election of President-elect Donald Trump.
President Mary Papazian sent out this message to the campus community:
This week brought multiple reports of aggressive behavior targeting students of color. Wednesday, an unknown assailant grabbed a Muslim-American student by her hijab in the West (Fourth Street) Garage, yanking her backwards and causing her to fall. And Friday afternoon, a South Asian student was verbally accosted while studying in the Engineering Building.
We’ve been in touch with both students to offer our support and encouragement. University police are investigating both cases.
There have been other reports of students facing subtle taunting and overt verbal attacks. I understand that some of you have experienced or observed this behavior in classrooms and elsewhere on campus.
All of this is deeply troubling. And it leaves students–including those who are undocumented–as well as faculty and staff members concerned for their safety. Many of you are frustrated and unsure how to appropriately respond. Some of you have asked for our help.
I understand. We are just days removed from an election that provoked a dizzying array of reactions ranging from elation to depression. In several U.S. cities, thousands have taken to the streets in protest. And, sadly, attacks against individuals have been reported on other college campuses and in many communities.
As I observed earlier this week, we are a family. We celebrate opportunities for healthy dissent. But no one should face intimidation–or worse–based on a political viewpoint or on racial, ethnic, religious, gender or sexual identity. An attack on any member of our family is an attack on us all.
So where do we go from here?
The university administration will continue to provide support to any student, faculty or staff member who seeks our help. We will explore opportunities to further enhance campus safety and security.
We will continue working with campus and community members interested in fostering healthy dialogue and promoting an inclusive, safe, supportive climate.
And I ask you, as a member of the Spartan family, to join me in approaching the upcoming holidays with respect and appreciation for the unique diversity that sets us apart among our nation’s public universities.
The incident took place around 2:10 p.m. while the victim was getting something out of her trunk on the third floor of the West Garage on South Fourth and East San Salvador streets.
The victim says her attacker came from behind and pulled her head scarf, choking her to the point that she was unable to breathe.
“I had to go pick my sister up… that’s all I was thinking about,” the victim said.
The attacker pulled her so hard that her back arched in what she described as “a very painful way.”
When she was finally released, the force from resisting sent her to her knees.
The victim suspects this violent act could be a hate crime, prompted by Donald Trump’s election.