In mid-September Yuba College maintenance workers found hateful, racist graffiti penned on a public table in the 200 building area. The racial and homophobic pejoratives were eventually washed away by college maintenance staff, but the pain and fear caused by such language has remained. In addition to the racist graffiti, someone also left hateful notes in a music classroom and in a faculty mailbox.
The verbal attacks were most likely directed at Yuba College’s newest music faculty member, Lamont Pinckney, who seems more concerned about the well-being of his students. Having dealt with racism before, Pinckney wants to put this ordeal behind him.
He said, “I just want to focus on my students and the music. I’m glad that it has been dealt with swiftly.”
Jay Drury, Associate Dean of Fine Arts and Language Arts, said, “In all my years being here, this just hasn’t happened before. It is unimaginable to think that a campus as diverse as ours would be capable of this. We must not and cannot tolerate this behavior.”
The Yuba College Police Chief Wilkinson said, “It was an isolated incident which involved a series of notes directed at one of the faculty. It is under investigation, so much cannot be said, but understand that it will be taken very seriously.”
In a letter addressed to Yuba College music students on September 30, Drury said, “Such communications are considered hate crimes and have serious legal ramifications. They also have serious college implications that will likely result in permanent expulsion from the college. I have today met with the police department to turn over all forensic evidence in this matter. I am sure that this evidence will locate the perpetrator.”
A hate motivated crime is defined by the campus police as: “Any act of intimidation, harassment, physical force, or threat of physical force directed against any person or family, or their property, or advocate, motivated either in whole or in part by hostility to their real or perceived races, ethnic backgrounds, national origins, religious beliefs, sexes, ages, disabilities, sexual orientations, or political beliefs.”
In an effort to bring in the person or persons responsible, Drury appealed to the music students in his letter to “stand up and fight hate crimes like this on our campus.” He asked them to contact him, anonymously if needed, to let him know anything about this matter.
In an interview with The Prospector, Drury said that he is pleased with the response of the District as well as the Administration in dealing with this issue. By adhering to a zero tolerance policy, he hopes that this will not happen again in the future.
In a related incident, two Sutter men, Jared Giampaoli and Steven Foster-Little, were charged with a misdemeanor in Sutter County on September 11 for painting a 20 foot swastika in the front entrance of Butte View High School, attempting to prevent African-American students from entering.
If convicted, the men, ages 19 and 20, could spend a year in jail and fined up to $100,000. However, after the incident, the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office charged Giampaoli with vandalism but not a hate crime, saying the swastika and slogans were not directed at “an identifiable victim.”
Assistant District Attorney Fred Schroeder at the time called the vicious act of these two grown men “a childish prank” that “falls within the vandalism statue.” Giampaoli pleaded guilty in Sutter County Superior Court to malicious mischief and was sentenced to two years’ probation without a fine or jail time, said District Attorney Carl Adams.