CSU, Chico News

Campus Community Rallies For Unity in Wake of Assault on AS President

Date: 04-23-2010

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

Approximately 900 students, faculty, staff and community members gathered today, April 23, in California State University, Chico’s Student Services Center plaza for a unity rally in support of Associated Students President Joseph Igbineweka, who was assaulted April 18 in what Chico Police are calling a hate crime.

The rally was organized by the CSU, Chico student organization Black Leaders on Campus (BLOC). The purpose of the rally was to unite the Chico campus community and show support for AS President Joseph Igbineweka in a time of need.

Speakers at the rally included CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg, Chico Mayor Ann Schwab, Chico Police Chief Mike Maloney, BLOC representatives Malcom Dixon and Walter Torrence, CSU, Chico staff member Mai Hou Lo, Butte College student Tony Gamboa and Les Jauron, vice president for planning and information at Butte College.

Prior to the speakers, a barbecue lunch for those gathered was served free of charge. Donations by Chico BBQ, Chico Police Department, Lash’s Glass, Pro Pacific Fresh, S&L Meats and Wonder Bread/Hostess along with other campus and community groups made the lunch possible.

The rally began at 11 a.m. with music provided by student D.J. Jovan Smith.

Christensen (Swang) Sanders, vice president of BLOC, said the unity rally matches the purpose of BLOC, which is to be a bridge for communication among students and others in the community and to allow any student to feel comfortable with other people.

“The idea of the rally is that the situation with Joseph does not escalate into more confusion or be misinterpreted by people,” Sanders said. “This is an opportunity for people to unite and say that this type of behavior and violence should not be tolerated, whether it be a hate crime or a crime for any reason. Students or any resident should feel safe in our city. The worst thing we can do is just move on with our lives, and then
the next time something happens, it’s worse. This rally should not be the end, but only the first step to unifying people.”

Many people in the crowd wore yellow armbands as a sign of unity and support for Igbineweka, who could not attend due to continuing medical treatment for stab wounds he suffered in the assault.