President F. King Alexander and Mary Stephens, vice president of administration and finance, addressed what Alexander called a “hate crime” at yesterday’s Associated Student’s Inc. meeting.
A 27-year-old transgender student at Cal State Long Beach reported he was assaulted in a university restroom at 9:30 p.m. on April 15. He released a statement on April 28, and a campus wide e-mail addressing the incident was sent out on April 26.
Students angered over the perceived lack of CSULB’s urgency in informing the campus about the attack have voiced their concerns on the online Daily 49er and Long Beach Post’s comment sections, social networking websites and K-Beach radio.
In response, Alexander said the university reacted to the attack immediately and has been working very closely with the victim. He said they weren’t able to send out an e-mail to students until they had all the information and a police sketch of the attacker. He went on to say that an e-mail containing inaccurate information about the incident could have increased panic among students.
“I want to make sure everyone is assured that from the moment we were made aware of this incident, we have been on it and pursing it fully,” Stephens said. “We like to be responsive and patient with the victim, and I realize that on the outside it might look different but we are trying to be as respectful as possible.”
She added that the university immediately increased campus foot patrols and security around the home of the victim. She said CSULB is taking this attack seriously and continues to investigate the case.
“We have to respect the rights and wishes of the victim while still protecting the campus as much as possible,” Alexander said.
According to the CSULB Crime Statistics from 2004 to 2008 shown on the University Police website, this is the first hate crime to occur at CSULB, but the second assault to occur in the past school year.
“We have been ranked one of the safest campuses in the United States and we continue to make safety a top priority,” Alexander said.
According to Stephens, the university believes this is an isolated incident and has no reason to believe, though with an abundance of caution, that there is an increased threat on campus. She said University Police will continue to step up foot patrols.
Some have used this incident as a platform to speak out against hate crimes. Wednesday’s “Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays” event had speakers who addressed the attack.
University Police continue to monitor the campus with the help of security cameras placed throughout the school.
Anyone with information about the case should contact Det. Johnny Leyva at 562-985-4101.
Editor’s note: The following is a statement the Daily 49er received from Cal State Long Beach.
April 28, 2010
Statement from Colle Carpenter, graduate student who was attacked at California State University, Long Beach on April 15
On April 15, I was attacked while on a break from class at Cal State Long Beach. Since this happened to me, I have received respect and support from the university, far beyond what I expected. The campus police have made every effort to conduct a thorough investigation and have been especially concerned with respecting my wishes for privacy and for ensuring my safety.
I’m aware the university has come under criticism regarding communications and response in general, but again, I feel that the administration’s response has been focused on the investigation and my well-being. I think it’s really unfair that the university is being criticized. I requested time alone to heal privately with my family and the university honored that request. The university statement was released 20 minutes after I approved the sketch of the suspect.
I appreciate the outpouring of support from the community. However, some people and organizations have directed their anger and fear toward the university instead of the person who did this. I think the most important thing for everyone to understand is the need to find and prosecute the person who hurt me. Attacking the university is counterproductive.
In my past three years I have received nothing but support from the faculty and staff. Attacking a campus that has supported LGBTIQQ students is wrong. Portraying the university as being unwilling to face the attack head on could cause someone to decide not to go to school here and that would deny them access to the supportive and welcoming university that I am honored to call home.
I chose to return to my classes and CSULB is doing everything possible to make sure I feel safe in that decision.
This article was updated at 5:11 p.m. on Thursday, April 29.