Chad Washington

Chad Washington, CC ’15 and football defensive lineman, has been charged with a hate crime.  According to NBC, he allegedly threatened, followed, and physically harassed an Asian student on Saturday night. A Public Safety office witnessed what happened, but ignored it because “he thought it was a group horsing around.” Washington “faces a felony charge of aggravated harassment as a hate crime.” He may have been with four other people, who are being investigated.

Washington recently wrote an op-ed for Spec titled “Athletes Deserve Respect.” From Washington’s Spec op-ed:

Most of my fellow students at Columbia feel so divided from athletes because, once again, sports have never been a part of their life. During Friday nights in high school, they were probably in the library and not at the football game. During the Homecoming pep rally, future Columbia students were most likely working on extra homework and problem sets.

Update: An informal statement from Wilfred Chan regarding the administrative response to the incident is below, taken from his comment on the recent post on certain football players’ racist Tweets. Apparently, the assault occurred earlier in the week, but was only reported by outside media recently.

Just an informal update: as reported above, Tim Qin, Abdul Rafay Hanif, David Fine, and I spoke to Dean Melinda Aquino of the Office of Multicultural Affairs this afternoon. We have learned that the victim was assaulted earlier in the week, not yesterday, but is under a lot of stress and initially declined a community-wide email notification, which administrators complied with to protect his privacy. The administration’s priority has been focused on caring for the victim and dealing with the alleged suspect.

The first University statement, released last night, was drafted by Columbia’s Communications office when they found out that the story had been reported on by outside media Wednesday. There is currently a second statement being drafted by administrators that is more directed towards the student community, and this is being collaboratively written by administrators from the Communications office to the President’s office to the Athletics dept to Student Affairs to the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Dean Aquino acknowledged that it is a difficult statement to craft because of the ongoing nature of the investigation. However, we urged her to make sure the statement includes – at the very least – a condemnation of racism, sexism, and associated acts of violence. We also urged her to make sure the statement does not gloss over the concerns of affected student communities, particularly the Asian and Asian Pacific American student community.

My sense is that Dean Aquino was receptive and that she will hopefully advocate for us. I don’t know when the statement will be released, though I hope it’s soon. Regardless of whether this statement ever materializes, I hope students of all colors will stand in solidarity behind anti-racism and anti-sexism. I also ask people to be mindful of what the victim is going through at this time.

Photo via GoColumbiaLions