SAN JOSE -- San Jose State faculty leaders formally apologized this week to a black student allegedly bullied for weeks by his white roommates, saying the reported abuse should have been stopped sooner.
" ... This despicable behavior may have been significantly reduced had it been addressed promptly," says a resolution passed by SJSU's Academic Senate.
The senate executive committee also begged the administration to renew its focus on diversity and to follow through on earlier suggestions for change.
Last month, four white SJSU freshmen were charged with misdemeanor crimes, accused of tormenting their black roommate for weeks. The four students -- who reportedly told police that the abuse was just a prank -- have been suspended while their criminal and campus discipline cases proceed.
The resolution also echoes broader concerns raised by faculty and students, including assertions that SJSU President Mo Qayoumi shelved a diversity master plan that was published before his arrival. The 122-page document calls for a more diverse faculty and measures to prevent "intercultural hostilities" and "cultural isolation," among other recommendations.
A former administrator who coordinated the plan said she met with Qayoumi after his appointment in 2011, but he didn't seem interested implementing its ideas.
"... It wasn't continued, and nothing replaced it," said Rona Halualani, an SJSU communications professor who was a special assistant to former SJSU President Don Kassing.
Now, she said, "No one really knows what the plan is."
A spokeswoman for San Jose State said the president did not abandon those recommendations -- or the findings of a sociological study on campus diversity, which were not publicized. She said she believed he established a new commission to take action on those ideas.
"The president did not turn his back on all of this," said Media Relations Director Pat Lopes Harris. "What he was trying to figure out was, 'How can we move forward in a positive way?'"
The president's new commission, led by two vice presidents, met for the first time this fall. The author of the sociological study, Associate Professor of Sociology Susan Bell Murray, said she applied to serve on the commission but wasn't accepted.
The Academic Senate has called on Qayoumi to implement the existing work and to report progress in the spring.
" ... We implore the administration to reinvigorate its focus on diversity and follow through on the previous reports and recommendations regarding campus climate," the resolution said.
Follow Katy Murphy at Twitter.com/katymurphy.