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Monday, September 20, 2004
Another Hate Crime on Campus, Another Round of Lip Service
Multiple news sources are covering the September 16 assault of eight Muslim women in the Lawrence Hall of Science parking lot. In the attack, three males threw water bottles at the group while shouting racial slurs.
UC Berkeley Press Release
Daily Cal Story
One interesting aspect of this situation is the amount of "new and interesting" quotes that have come out afterwards. For example:
"Acts of hate in whatever form they occur and to whomever they are directed cannot be tolerated on this campus. As a caring and supportive community we must, at all times, stand together against deplorable acts of hate and intolerance."
- Chancellor Berdahl, in a UC Berkeley Press Release
"I hope this incident raises awareness about safety on campus. I hope this never happens to anyone else."
- Rosha Jones, a victim of the crime, from the Daily Cal story
"It's horrifying to know that this continues to happen at UC Berkeley. This isn't the first time it's happened. It's unfortunate that it's not usually as high-profile."
- Camille Pannu, student representative to the Chancellor’s Task Force on Hate and Bias, from the Daily Cal story
These quotes continue to be newsworthy because it is perceived to be a movement of separate people uniting against these crimes. But honestly, in an educated community such as that found in this university, are that many people in favor of hate crimes? And is anyone shocked when people take a definitive stance against hate crimes? It seems like such a no-brainer to see these quotes, almost mass-produced and pre-prepared for situations like this.
In the end, talk is cheap. These sound bites ultimately amount to close to nothing, no matter who or where they come from. And all of the banter going around ultimately overshadows the real questions. Why are so many details of the crime still missing? How could UCPD and BPD be so derelict in patrolling the more-used parking lots on campus, and the surrounding areas, at night? Can it be stated that UC Berkeley students perpetrated the incident, or is this the result of hatred from the non-academic local community?
Instead of putting all of the energy from this incident into retroactive measures of shock and dismay, the ASUC and the administration should be getting proactive. More pressure needs to be put on city officials in the wake of power failures, an increase of crime, and a strained relationship with the student population that it continues to alienate.
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