SAN JOSE -- A special task force convened at San Jose State after allegations that a black student was relentlessly bullied by his white roommates has told President Mo Qayoumi all eyes will be on him as he considers their recommendations, due for release Friday.

"The victim, his parents and the world have been watching us and now they are watching you," said former Judge LaDoris Cordell, who led the 18-member special task force. "I am confident that you and your administration will do the right thing now that our work is done," she said at the panel's final meeting Thursday.

Qayoumi later said it was vital to move forward quickly on the recommendations, which urge a formal focus on diversity training and close monitoring of biased behavior.

The panel on Friday is expected to release its final recommendations, including a cabinet-level diversity office to improve the campus environment, more training for residence hall staff and faculty, and a required diversity course for new students.

The starkly worded recommendations reflect campus racial issues unresolved for decades and urge the administration to openly and resolutely address them. Cordell told Qayoumi the family of the bullied freshman "were enthusiastically supportive of all of the recommendations," according to their attorney, Carl Douglas.

The Special Task Force on Racial Discrimination concluded that San Jose State should:

  • Require faculty training in civil discourse and respect in the classroom.


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  • Ensure that all dorm staff leaders' training explicitly discusses racial prejudice, racist/hate symbols and how to encourage open discussion.

  • Create a link on the San Jose State website connected to the campus police and to the Office of Diversity for reporting hate crimes, biased conduct or speech.

  • Revive languishing campus diversity projects, including a 122-page Diversity Master Plan that some faculty accuse Qayoumi of shelving, and create a cabinet-level office to improve the campus environment.

    In November, four white SJSU freshmen were charged with misdemeanor hate crime and battery, accused of bullying their black roommate and snapping a bicycle lock around his neck. The freshmen also displayed a Confederate flag in the suite, according to a public fact-finding report requested by the campus.

    The four students -- who reportedly told police the abuse was just a prank -- were suspended while their criminal and campus discipline cases proceed.

    Freshman Donald Williams Jr. filed a $5 million claim against the university in March, blaming the dorm adviser and school officials for ignoring warning signs of the abuse.

    After news of the incident broke in November, some students and faculty pointed to an in-depth -- but never publicized -- sociological study revealing the racism some students described at San Jose State's campus.

    It also found that white students felt "invisible" in discussions about race and diversity.

    The study was commissioned by a previous president and submitted to incoming President Qayoumi in 2011. He disbanded the advisory group behind the project, the Campus Climate Committee, and set up his own diversity commission.

    The Campus Climate Committee began meeting again, informally, after the bullying incident. The task force has recommended campus leaders formally reinstate the group and link it to the president's office.

    The task force has asked the president to publish a timeline for implementing the recommendations within 45 days.

    In an interview after the meeting, Qayoumi said his administration would move quickly.

    "This incident was such a horrible experience for the student and the campus has had such a very challenging time," he said. "It is vital for us to implement the task force recommendations so we can quickly make this a better, more livable campus community."

    Reporter David E. Early contributed to this report. Follow Katy Murphy at Twitter.com/katymurphy.