Update: Hate Crimes on UC Berkeley's Campus

April 4, 2003

Source: Contra Costa Times


On April 4, 2003 the Contra Costa Times reported that "in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the [UC Berkeley] campus did indeed experience a rise in hate crime, including last week's attack on a Sikh student walking to class. Frustrated by the upsurge in crime and a perceived official indifference, a coalition of student groups scheduled a Town Hall meeting with Berkeley chancellor Robert Berdahl last month to address their grievances... Even at the commencement of war and on a rainy night, close to 100 faculty members, students and administrators gathered to address concerns... Representatives for the Cal Muslim Students Association talked about the climate of fear they've felt since 9/11. One of their banners was removed from Sproul Plaza, and the UC police officer assigned to investigate advised the students to 'grow thicker skin.' In light of such official response, CalMSA has created their own service to escort fellow students around campus, eschewing the university-provided one (students waited as long as 45 minutes for the Cal escort)... Not just Muslims have felt the hostility: last December the African Theme House created by black students on campus was defaced with a swastika. Felicia Moore Jordan, a student co-manager of house, noted that the authorities -- in this case the Berkeley Police Department -- did not want to categorize the action as a hate crime. Moore said the hate crime designation is key to fighting such incidents... 'Berkeley is known as a haven of tolerance, but too often I feel the fangs of hate,' said a speaker representing the university's gay-oriented Oscar Wilde House... The coalition of student groups presented the university with a list of solutions to the current undertones of ill will they sometimes experience on campus. In the case of the Muslim students, one concrete remedy would be for the school to provide them a safe prayer area. Samady reported that an arrangement has been made for such facilities on at least a short-term basis."