Student targeted by discrimination

A student on campus was the target of racism and homophobia on Sonoma State University in the residential community, which lead to Monday’s “Stand up! Speak up! Act up!” event in response to the incident of discrimination. 

Certain aspects pertaining to the incident such as the identity of the victim and the exact location of the incident weren’t released to the Sonoma State STAR in order to protect the confidentiality of the student staff member.

Two weeks ago, a student staff member encountered the words “N-----” “and “F-----”
 on a white board located outside in the residential housing community on the campus between late Thursday night and early Friday morning.

In an email sent to students, faculty and staff on Thursday Sept. 18, President Ruben Armiñana addressed his concerns and opinions on the recent incident that targeted a Sonoma State student staff member.

“While the University serves as a site for the free exchange of ideas, expressions denigrating individuals based on race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexuality, ability or other aspect central to their identity have no place on campus,” said Armiñana in the email. “Such expressions violate the rights of others and contribute to an unsafe, uncivil environment.”

In response to the recent incident an SSU student, the Sonoma State HUB, and the Associated Students hosted “Stand Up! Speak Up! Act Up!” event.  This forum is designed to help inform students on the incident that occurred and students also have the opportunity to engage with others about the incident.  

The project “We are Sonoma” will also be revealed to students.

The Sonoma State HUB is a resource for students designed to stimulate the campus environment and promote mutual respect and appreciation, and to address the experience of underrepresented students. Race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression and disability fall under that category. 

“We are Sonoma” is a project consisting of students, faculty, and staff members from Sonoma State holding signs with micro aggressions that have happened to them as well as incidents of discrimination they have experienced in their lives.

“The incident was reported to Joyce Suzuki and the Bias Response Team” said   Bianca Zamora, chair of the senate for the Associated Students. “The Bias Response Team believed it was best to have a communal response and provide the space for students to address incivility within the community.”

Sonoma State was not aware of the incident until last Friday, when the student reported what happened to Suzuki and the Bias Response Team on campus. The Associated Students of Sonoma State created the Bias Response Team in April 2012. 

The creation was in response to similar incidents of discrimination and intolerance on campus, as described in the Associated Students resolution.. This incident of racism and homophobia is not the first occurrence at Sonoma State.

n 2012, the derogatory term “N-----“ was written on fliers of the Black Scholars during a campus event. In February 2013, the word “N------“ was written on a BSU poster at the Zinfandel Dining Hall during a BSU event.

“Joyce Suzuki is definitely interested in investigating,” said Lauren Morimoto, director of diversity and inclusive excellence. “If you know something, please talk to Joyce because she would like to know. If possible find out who did this and take appropriate action.”

Other than being investigated by the Bias Response Team, Police and Parking services is also investigating the matter.

“We were made aware of the incident just recently and have begun our investigation,” said Chief of Police and Executive Director for Risk Management, Nate Johnson. 

For more information, contact the Sonoma State HUB or Police and Parking Services.