SJSU identifies students who drew swastikas, graffiti at residence halls


SAN JOSE — San Jose State University police have identified two students who allegedly drew swastikas and hateful graffiti at two residence halls found the evening of Sept. 20 that appear to be unrelated, school officials said Sept. 22.

The symbols and graffiti were found at the Campus Village and Washburn Hall buildings that house first-year students on the  evening of Sept. 20, school officials said.

One of the swastikas was found with the anti-Semitic message “Admit One Jew,” that police learned wasn’t aimed at a certain person and didn’t amount to a hate crime, university President Mary Papazian wrote Sept. 22 in a message to the campus community.

The other swastika and accompanying language was discovered on a white board at a dorm suite that one student referred to as a “joke board,” according to Papazian.

While speaking to reporters outside Washburn Hall, Papazian said she was disturbed and outraged by the two incidents. She was also concerned by how students and the community were reacting to the messages.

“Anytime you have hateful language or hateful symbols it impacts somebody very personally,” she said.

The two students behind the swastikas and attached messages were identified after officers conducted multiple interviews, university police Chief Peter Decena said.

The students who admitted they wrote the graffiti characterized the acts as a joke and police believe the incidents aren’t related, Decena said.

Papazian didn’t speak to whether the two students would be disciplined for their actions.

Papazian was notified of the graffiti while she was attending California State University meetings in Long Beach and returned to San Jose a day early on the evening of Sept. 21.

The university’s chief diversity officer Kathleen Wong (Lau), who joined the school in July, led a meeting the evening of Sept. 21 with about 150 to 200 students, Papazian said.

An informal meeting with students on the incidents is scheduled for 8 p.m. Sept. 22 at the university’s Dining Commons and a conversation on campus climate issues is set for Sept. 29, she said.

The graffiti comes about three years after three former students — Logan Beaschler, Joseph “Brett” Bomgardner and Colin Wyatt Warren — posted pictures of swastikas and other racist symbols at an on-campus dormitory.

The trio, all white men, lived with a black student who they called “three-fifths,” placed his head in bike lock and trapped him in a bathroom and bedroom.

The series of incidents lasted for almost two months before university police were notified.

A fourth suspect was underage at the time of the alleged crimes and charged in juvenile court, prosecutors said.

After standing trial earlier this year, the three men were convicted of misdemeanor battery.

Bomgardner was found not guilty of misdemeanor commission of a hate crime. A mistrial was declared for Beaschler and Warren on the hate crime allegation and prosecutors aren’t seeking to retry them on the charge.

The three men were sentenced to two years probation, 30 days in jail that could be completed under a weekend work program and ordered to have no contact with the victim.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *