California lawmakers to study student harassment on college campuses

Lauren Williams's picture
Friday, January 10, 2014

The speaker of the state Assembly has created a 15-member committee to investigate student harassment and hate crimes.

"Over these past few years we have seen too many incidents on California college campuses perpetrated by people with malicious intent to harm or demean others," said Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), whose office announced the panel formation Wednesday.

Last year, three white students at San Jose State University were charged with hate crimes and a fourth suspended after they allegedly harassed a black 17-year-old student by locking him in his room, nicknaming him "three-fifths" -- a reference to a slavery-era constitutional provision that counted blacks as three-fifths of a person -- and parading a Confederate flag.

State Assemblywoman Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego), who worked as a professor at San Diego State, will chair the committee. The group will evaluate public school system policies to "determine what needs to be done to improve campus climate," according to a release.

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