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NAACP investigates CSULB knife incident

President of civil rights group commends President Conoley for ‘efforts in seeking input.‘

An+anonymous+note+addressing+the+recent+knife+incident+is+located+on+the+second+floor+of+the+Fine+Arts-4+building+March+9.+
An anonymous note addressing the recent knife incident is located on the second floor of the Fine Arts-4 building March 9.

An anonymous note addressing the recent knife incident is located on the second floor of the Fine Arts-4 building March 9.

Trang Le

Trang Le

An anonymous note addressing the recent knife incident is located on the second floor of the Fine Arts-4 building March 9.

Ariana Sawyer, News Editor

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This story has been updated March 12 at 12:14 a.m.

 

The NAACP’s Long Beach chapter announced Wednesday it will launch an investigation into the Feb. 25 incident where a student brandished a knife in a sociology class at Cal State Long Beach.

“The Long Beach Branch NAACP is currently gathering information and facts surrounding the incident,” NAACP President Naomi Rainey said in a statement. “After the information has been studied, we will make a public statement.”

The investigation comes after students took to social media over the last several days to criticize the university’s lack of communication regarding the incident in which a 20-year-old male student “displayed” a short knife to a female student in a sociology class on race, class and gender.

Much of the criticism stemmed from the fact that the altercation was not disclosed to the campus community in a timely warning email and that the incident was perceived to have been racially motivated. Students on social media claimed a white male student pulled out his knife to threaten a black female student.

The students’ races remain unconfirmed.

“We do not see [the incident] as racist or discrimination at this particular point, but we don’t have enough facts and have not gathered enough data and interviewed enough parties to see, Rainey said Friday. “But at this particular time, it really looks like the issues are safety and interruption of the learning environment.”

Rainey, who is a CSULB alumna, said she commends President Conoley for the way she handled the aftermath, including the way she reached out to the campus, her encouragement of open dialogue and the counseling that CSULB is offering to students and faculty

“A careful assessment of [perceptions of race in] the reported event bears further scrutiny,” CSULB President Jane Close Conoley said Sunday in an email.

The NAACP will also wait for the Long Beach Police Department to finalize their investigation before releasing a report, according to the statement.

The decision to investigate came after the NAACP saw the incident in the news and started receiving calls on their 24 hour hotline as well as input from their website and various social media, Rainey said.

“The reason the NAACP is involved is because school safety is a big issue throughout our nation,” Rainey said. “Education is an important issue in our nation. Police action is an ongoing issue, whether it is campus police, city police, any kind of police, the NAACP monitors that.”

Though there are no legal ramifications to the NAACP investigation, Rainey said it would not be good for the school to have its brand or trademark blemished by a report that even looks like it has the “taint of racism.”

When the NAACP releases its report, it will make recommendations to the school as to how it can improve.

One weakness Rainey said she already sees is in the flow of information to the students in the wake of the incident.
“Everything can improve … you can always make things better,” she said.

 

Valerie Osier contributed to this story.

3 Comments

3 Responses to “NAACP investigates CSULB knife incident”

  1. Doesn't Matter on March 10th, 2016 7:47 pm

    Here we go…
    -He had checked the knife with campus PD
    -Campus PD hasn’t discovered any racial motivation
    -Campus PD didn’t think he was a threat
    -Does the mere presence of the knife scare the children of these days so severely
    -If it had been aggressive the prof would have reported it as such
    -Is no one going to address the graffiti written on the wall.
    – Stop throwing race into it, he could very well have been showing his crush his knife, who knows, innocent until proven guilty

    Do not allow the weak to cry bully their way into victory

  2. Yup. on March 11th, 2016 11:43 pm

    “Crybully” would be the correct term for racebaiters.

  3. s on March 13th, 2016 2:09 pm

    The guy works for Campus PD as a CSO and it was the Campus PD that gave him permission to carry the knife. How bad would it look for the Campus PD to say a guy they hired and allowed to have a knife on campus was a threat? Of course they decided to defend his actions- they’re trying to cover themselves. It was a clear conflict of interest for the Campus PD to be involved in this case in any way.

    And the incident was entirely about race. The knife was taken out during an argument about race in a sociology class about race.

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