Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Earlier today, President Jackson asked me to convene a group of individuals from across our University to discuss a crime that occurred near campus.
Recent media accounts and headlines about the incident were filled with many different narratives, and this group raised concerns that this could harm attempts to build and sustain trust within our campus community. I am writing to provide some clarity.
Before getting into specifics, it is important to stress that the safety of our students is a top priority for Humboldt State. We value equity and diversity, and we are committed to providing a welcoming and safe space for everyone in the campus community.
The incident in question occurred in late August, when a student reported to staff in the Residence Halls that they had been cut with a knife near 14th and G streets in Arcata. Paramedics were called, and they were taken to Mad River Community Hospital where they were treated for the injury. University Police and Arcata Police were called, and Residence Life staff responded to ensure that the student was safe and cared for. Because of where the incident occurred, the Arcata Police Department has taken the lead on the investigation. That investigation is ongoing.
The next day, the University offered the student additional support, which was coordinated by the Residential Life and Dean of Students' Office teams. In addition, the incident was evaluated by a University team that is tasked with reviewing student well-being on a regular basis. As with all situations in which a student is the victim of a crime, the University remained focused on the student's safety and well-being, and closely monitored for risk of danger to the campus community.
On the evening of the incident, University police made a determination that there was no imminent or immediate threat to the campus community or to the student. The campus followed standard university protocol in making this decision. HSU complies with the Clery Timely Warning Notice/ Security Alert Notification guidelines. There was also no evidence that the alleged incident was motivated by the student's race and there was no evidence or reporting to indicate the alleged incident was a hate crime. If there had been an imminent threat or evidence of a hate crime, the campus community would have been alerted by text and email using HSU Alert, and information would have been prominently posted on the HSU homepage.
I appreciate the respectful conversation and valuable guidance from my colleagues today. The group stressed the importance of this letter, and many of them have reviewed and improved upon it. They included, Dean of Students Eboni Turnbow; Associated Students President Yadira Cruz; Multicultural Center Coordinator Frank Herrera; African-American Center Coordinator Doug Smith; ITEPP Coordinator Adriane Colegrove-Raymond; El Centro Coordinator Fernando Paz; President's Chief of Staff Sherie Gordon; Chief of Police Donn Peterson; Associate Vice President for Student Success Stephen St. Onge; Vice President for Administration Doug Dawes; and Interim Vice President for Advancement Frank Whitlatch.
This group also shared with me a sentiment that I have heard often in my new role. Humboldt State University, they said, is a small and close-knit community where people really care about one another - and it's better thought of as the "Humboldt Family." Within this family, there is no place for hate, no room for violence, no space where discrimination is acceptable, and no moment when student safety is not most important. Yes, we have work to continue to do. And we will.
I encourage students to utilize the various support services that HSU offers. Below are a few that can help directly or refer students to the appropriate area:
- Student Health and Wellbeing Services at 826-3146
- Dean of Students Office at 826-3504
- University Police at 826-5555 (for emergencies call 911)
- African American Center for Academic Excellence at 826-4588
- El Centro at 826-4590
- MultiCultural Center at 826-3363
- ITEPP (Indian Tribal & Educational Personnel Program) at 826-3672
- Academic & Career Advising Center at 826-3341
- A student's faculty member
I'm proud to be a part of the Humboldt Family, and I know you share my dedication to making HSU better every day.