SPECIAL SERIES : CAMPUS RACE RELATIONS
Hate Crimes Faked
November 12, 2003 3:36 PM
Campus police say two African-American students who complained of racial epithets written on their doors wrote the words themselves to move the issues of racism to the forefront of the university.
One student wrote "NIGG" on a dormroom door. Another on student wrote "Black Bitches" on her Village at Centennial Square door. Both students accused other apartment residents of the vandalism, acording to police reports.
The first incident ocured when the words "Black bitches" was scrawled across the door of a fifth floor Village apartment on Sept. 14 or 15. Allison Jackson filed a report with the University Police claiming that her neighbor was a possible suspect in the vandalism. A handwriting analyst was called to dertermine who wrote the words.
Samples that were used in the case came from Jackson's roommates as well as the accused neighbor and Jackson. The analysis found that jackson wrote the words.
Due to an ongoing and escalating feud with her roommates, Jackson wrote the words in an attempt to get relocated to another room, according to the police report. When told she was a suspect, Jackson explained why she did it.
"I was requesting a roommate move, and I was given that advice in order for the roommate move to be taken seriously, things needed to occur ... issues needed to occur, and that if I really wanted, I could go ahead and pursue those issues, so the issue was basically that I wanted a roommate change."
According to the report, before Jackson admitted to writing the epithet, she said that the racial activties on campus had not been dealt with properly. Jackson said she knew peolple involved in a Sept. 8 incicent when a watermelon was mistakingly placed on a black student's doorstep and that the students didn't feel they were being assisted with the incident.
“As a matter of fact, I had to tell them that you have to go to the next level, if you don’t go to the next level, it will not get dealt with,” Jackson said, according to the report.
A similar seemingly unrelated incident occured in Mary Park Hall.
After concerns that the watermelon incident did not receive enough attention by campus authorities, freshman Leah Miller wrote “NIGG” on fellow resident Brandi Parr’s door on or around Sept. 20, according to the police report. Then she wrote a note bearing the same slur and claimed to her residential adviser that it was slipped under her door.
Miller said she was pressured into doing this by an older student, who claimed that she “had” to do it in order for the University to recognize racism in the community and that things like this had been done before.
“Granted I was wrong and it was stupid of me. There’s no excuse,” Miller told [X]press. “I’m mad at myself that I let someone coerce me into doing this, but it’s been a big learning experience.”
According to the police report, both Miller and Jackson have submitted written statements to University Police admitting to filing a false report, charges of vandalism and tampering with evidence to implicate a suspect.
Filing a false police report and tampering with evidence is considered a misdemeanor and punishable by imprisonment in county jail for up to one year and/or $1,000 in fines. Vandalism is considered a more serious offense punishable by imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines because SF State is public property.
On Oct. 15, the university police, the chief assistant district attorney and the chief administration attorney decided not to file criminal charges against Miller or Jackson, who both must comply with the university’s student discipline process. According to the police report, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office stipulated that it reserved the right to file charges at a later time if Miller or Jackson was involved in another incident.
University police could not be reached for comment at press time.
The disciplinary actions regarding Jackson and Miller are confidential, according to Polidora. “The individual who alleged the hate note has gone through the students judiciary process, as well as the housing disciplinary process,” she said.
Donna Cunningham, university judicial affairs officer, had no comment about the students.
The allegations prompted a campuswide race summit to be held on Friday Nov. 15. Despite the false allegations of hate crimes, the summit will go on as planned, organizers said.
“The summit is not being formed to address the specific issues that came out in the alleged incidence that happened in the Mary Ward Dorms earlier this semester,” director of public affairs, Polidora, said. “The summit is being formed to address the issues underlying those alleged events.”
Summit planner, Academic Senate Chair Jim Edwards said he has known the students admitted to writing the notes for quite some time but that it does not change the fact that the issues surrounding the incidents need to be addressed.
“There was a lot of insensitivity in the way students reacted to the students who got the remarks.”
He said even though the notes were written by one of the people making the complaint, the insensitive reaction to the alleged events has shown that the issue of race and cultural relations on this campus needs to be addressed.
“It’s still in the space and we have to deal with the issues surrounding it,” Edwards said. “She made it real by writing it. It brought out a lot if issues that seem real because of the reaction to it.”
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