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Weber Will Chair Committee Focused on Campus Hate Crimes

The 15-member panel was formed in response to a case of alleged racial harassment at San Jose State University.

Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) represents the 79th Assembly District. Patch file photo.
Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) represents the 79th Assembly District. Patch file photo.
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) will chair a panel created to focus on hate crimes at California universities, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) announced Wednesday.

Weber said the special committee, comprised of 11 Democrats and four Republicans, was formed in response to a case of alleged racial harassment at San Jose State University. Four white students at the school are accused of assault and hate-crimes against an African-American student, including locking a bicycle lock around his neck.

“It’s clear from this particularly disturbing incident—one that harkens back to uglier times in our nation’s history—that we still have a lot of work to do to ensure California’s college campuses are safe and welcoming educational environments for every student,” Weber said in a statement.

Weber said the committee hold hearings over the next year to explore the current campus climate for students throughout the CSU, UC and Community College systems and consider what kind of policy changes may be needed.

Weber is a longtime educator. She is professor emeritus of Africana studies at San Diego State University, where she taught for 40 years; served two terms on the San Diego Unified School Board; and holds a doctorate from UCLA.

She will joined on the Select Committee on Campus Climate by 14 other assembly members, including Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego), who represents the 77th Assembly District.

According to Pérez, the committee will evaluate how to respond to student harassment and hate crimes, and determine what needs to be done to improve campus climate for California students.

“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,” Pérez said in a statement. “We need to act vigorously to ensure that our campuses are welcoming to all and reflective of the rich diversity of this great state."

Weber was elected last year to represent the 79th Assembly District, which includes La Mesa and Lemon Grove.

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