Assault Yesterday on AS President

April 19, 2010

To: Campus Community
From: Ann Schwab, Mayor, City of Chico
          Paul Zingg, President
Subj: Assault yesterday on AS President

Early yesterday morning, Associated Students President Joseph Igbineweka was savagely assaulted at the corner of West Sacramento Avenue and Warner Street. Chico Police report he was approached by someone making racial slurs. As Joseph tried to move on, he was attacked by one and possibly other individuals, and was stabbed multiple times. An onlooker called police and later a suspect was taken into custody. The suspect will likely be arraigned on attempted homicide and committing a hate crime. Joseph was transported to Enloe Medical Center where he received treatment for his wounds. As of this afternoon he remains in the hospital in stable condition. We have no indication at this time whether the suspect or suspects knew Joseph or knew he was the AS President.

Today our thoughts are with Joseph hoping for his full recovery. We, and several others, have visited with him at Enloe and he is in good spirits considering what he has been through.

This shocking event is a terrible reminder of the violence that can take place in this community we love.  But more than that, it is an assault on the values of civility and respect for other people that both Chico State and the City of Chico work so hard to ensure. We choose not to be defined by hate-filled and criminal acts.  We pledge ourselves to do everything within our power to establish programs and venues where people can come together and chart a more civil, respectful and peaceful course. That is the Chico way. Each of us must accept the challenge to see where he or she stands, and do his or her part to make Chico a safer place for everyone. Silence or lack of action is a response in and of itself—we will not be silent or inactive around issues and incidents of hate, prejudice and violence.

From his hospital bed, Joseph urges us to “Continue the conversation” around violence and prejudice.  We assure Joseph we will do that. In that spirit, there is an open forum today, Monday, at 4 p.m. in the BMU Auditorium for anyone who wishes to address yesterday’s incident, and discuss efforts to move forward as a community. We hope you can attend, and you can expect other messages in the days ahead about other forums and activities.

The Chico Way is more than a slogan.  It is a standard of values that states our aspirations and measures our progress.  It gives voice to what we can, and must, achieve as a caring, attractive and good community. We can, and must, rise to the high expectations we should have for our community and fellow citizens.  There is just too much at stake to do otherwise.