No hate crimes at CSUN, several in Northridge

Mike Siciliano

Daily Sundial

No hate crimes were reported at CSUN in 2005, according to Joy McConnell, records administrator for the CSUN Police Department. The lack of hate reports is in contrast to hate crimes that have taken place in Northridge and the surrounding San Fernando Valley.

CSUN Police Department’s 2004 Campus Crime Report, shows one hate crime per year from 2002 through 2004. The report included the campus and on-campus housing.

One event considered a hate “incident,” at the University Park Apartments was reported in the university’s daily crime log on Dec. 3, 2005. The incident reported was vandalism to a dorm room in the University Park Apartments in Building 10. This incident is not considered a crime and does not require public disclosure through the Jeanne Clery Act.

“This campus has a fairly good reputation for respecting diversity,” said Karren Baird-Olson, assistant professor of sociology and American Indian studies, who specializes in race and ethnic relations and criminology. “(College) campuses tend to be more respectful of diversity.”

The city of Northridge had five total hate crimes reported in 2004, according to the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations. Three were anti-Semitic, one was anti-gay and one was anti-transgender.

“There have been (only) a handful of highly visible cases on college campuses,” said Marshall Wong, hate crimes coordinator for the commission. “They’ve been few in number and largely cases of non-violent vandalism and criminal threats.”

CSUN’s numbers are low in contrast with the 502 hate crimes reported in Los Angeles County, according to the 2004 Hate Crime Report issued by the LACCHR. Seven percent of reported hate crimes occurred in schools. The majority of reported hate crimes took place in public places, followed by residences and businesses.

The San Fernando Valley had 62 reported hate crimes in 2004, according to Wong.

The crime categories reported that religious bias was the most common motive with 29 crimes reported, 28 of which where anti-Semitic. Race was also a common motive of hate crimes, with 26 crimes reported, 17 of which were targeted at African Americans in the San Fernando Valley.

“A friend of mine who is (gay) was walking home after a party when he was attacked by a group of guys,” said Linda Bonilla, undeclared sophomore at Glendale Community College. Bonilla’s friend, who often wears makeup, was pushed to curb by his attackers, which caused him to cut his leg. Bonilla said he believes that the attack likely occurred because of the fact he wore makeup.

A hate crime is defined as a crime where hatred towards a person’s race, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation is a substantial factor in the commission of the crime.

According to the LACCHR, some hate-related activities, such as hate speech may not be considered a crime unless a credible threat is involved, but even then classification may be difficult.

Hate incidents are reported by some colleges, such as CSUN, but are not required by federal law because they do not constitute criminal activities, said Joy McConnell, records administrator of CSUN Public Safety.

The goal in reporting them is to deter hate crime activity and strengthen cases for legal action if a hate crime does occur, McConnell said.

Mike Siciliano can be reached at city@csun.edu.