May 1, 2019 (San Diego) - On Wednesday, May 1, at 2:35 p.m., a suspect was arrested on allegations of making criminal threats via Snapchat toward a member of San Diego State University’s black community. The suspect, an SDSU student not currently enrolled in classes, was identified by the University Police Department within 48 hours after being notified of the incident. Officers immediately began investigating the incident and worked quickly to identify the suspect based on his description in the video and social media account handle. The suspect has been identified as Martin J. Ruiz.
“I want to reaffirm that we will continue to take allegations of hate crimes seriously and immediately devote resources to the pursuit of the investigation,” said SDSU Chief of Police Josh Mays. “Our goal is to promote a safe and secure environment for all members of our community.”
Correction: The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office has a specialized unit dedicated to prosecuting and preventing hate crimes. The office is reviewing the case.
The District Attorney’s Office provides information about recognizing and reporting suspected hate crimes, online: https://www.sdcda.org/helping/hate-crimes.html
“Freedom from discrimination, harassment and violence are basic, fundamental rights and we refute all instances of intolerance and abusive behaviors. The threats made are fundamentally against who we are as a community,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre. “We are grateful for and thank the University Police and also the District Attorney’s office for working collaboratively and quickly to identify the individual responsible and pursue criminal charges.”
SDSU Chief Diversity Officer, J. Luke Wood said the university has implemented a number of changes to increase support for all students, faculty and staff and to help enhance campus safety.
- On April 11, 2019, the SDSU University Senate unanimously passed a resolution, which, among other things, calls on the university to foster a safer climate for Black students, and to improve equity among Black faculty.
- The Provost’s Professors Initiative was launched this academic year and is led by a team of dedicated faculty members who are trained to provide programs designed to help counter bias, discrimination and microaggressions.
- This semester, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion also established 10 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which include the Black Faculty Staff Association and Black Women in Academia. Other ERGs are focused on the LatinX, LGBTQIA+, Filipino, Native American and indigenous communities. The common mission of our new ERGs are to create positive change in our campus climate.
- In response to vandalism that occurred at the Black Resource Center last month University Police has increased its presence and patrols around the area. Additional security measures have been implemented.
- More than 900 SDSU community members have signed a campus wide pledge supporting SDSU’s Black community and others (available online: https://diversity.sdsu.edu/inclusion/pledge).
“Every single member of our community should be free from discrimination, harassment and violence,” Wood said. He also encourages all members of the community to sign the pledge and commit to the actionable items reflected in the pledge.
“We will not stand down. As a university we uphold our institutional culture and values, which include appreciating and respecting difference and our collective diversity,” he said. “We value and respect every person who has come forward to support our Black community, as well as other members of our community. Hate and bias-driven acts may target one, but they impact us all, and our community’s response with positive action is exactly the momentum we need to evolve our collective humanity.”