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SJ State officials resign after offensive remarks

Leaders of a student group at San Jose State University Saturday reported being satisfied with the resignations of two university officials over an alleged offensive comment about female Hispanics, but complained their other demands had not been met.

SJSU senior Luis Lopez and juniors Estelia Velasquez and Yessenia Morales-Sanchez of Students for Racial Equality said in a statement they were “extremely pleased” with the resignations Friday of Tower Foundation board member Wanda Ginner and SJSU’s vice president for university advancement Rebecca Dukes.

But the leaders said they wanted additional concessions from university president Mohammad Qayoumi, including issuing an apology for Dukes to the person who filed a complaint with SJSU about the alleged “racial slur,” they said.

They also said they want SJSU:

“… to implement mandatory anti-racism trainings for administration, faculty, staff and students, as well as to implement protocols for cabinet members to respond to racist incidents…”

The student group claimed last week that the unidentified complainant contended that someone during an on-campus meeting in February of the board of directors of the Tower Foundation, SJSU’s fundraising arm, remarked:

“I contribute to this university because these little Latinas do not have the DNA to be successful.”

The group asked for the resignation of the then-unnamed board member and the cabinet member who they said was present when the alleged statement was made but did not raise objections about it.

Qayoumi, in separate open letters to the “campus community” posted online Friday, said board member Ginner and the cabinet member Dukes both had resigned their positions, but he did not specifically mention why.

Ginner, who has reportedly denied making the remark, and Dukes did not issue formal statements about their resignations or about the alleged remark.

Qayoumi, in a message to the campus last Monday, stated he was reviewing the results of an investigation into the purported comment made by a Tower board member at the February meeting, where several SJSU employees and “a member of my cabinet” were present.

The unnamed person’s complaint prompted Qayoumi to investigate, but in his statement on Friday announcing Ginner’s resignation, the president said “a great deal of work lies ahead as we seek to be the welcoming, inclusive community all Spartans aspire to.”

Oayoumi stated:

“I will share some additional thoughts with you soon.”

The results of his probe had been revealed to Ginner and the complainant, but in accordance with California State University and SJSU rules they will not be released to anyone else, he said.

Ginner, a graduate of SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, was a member of the Tower board since 2007, according to Qayoumi.

Dukes, while at the university, completed its “first comprehensive fundraising campaign,” had started planning for a new funds promotion, launched “an integrated university brand campaign” and began “programs to deepen a culture of philanthropy on campus,” he said.

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