CUPERTINO, Calif. (Jesse Gary/KTVU) - De Anza college officials continue searching for a suspect wanted in connection with a hate crime and assault against a transgender student.
“Every once in a while you get that one person who just maybe had a bad day and wanted to take his anger out on you. And I just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time,” said second year student DeeJae Smith outside the garage where the alleged attack took place January 24.
As he walked to his car on the fourth floor of Flint Garage, an unknown man coming the opposite direction attacked.
“The second I hit the landing, he’s down and he’s right in front of me. And he screams 'faggot' and punches me in the face.”
Smith says he was knocked unconscious, and later hospitalized with head injuries. It was the second time in less than a week that he says someone attacked him at the same on-campus garage. He says the attacker ran off, and campus police later released this composite sketch of the suspect, described as White man in his late 30s or early 40s, with silver hair, 5’10” or 11 and about 200 lbs.
“There’s always locations on campus and we’re aware that we need to have our officers patrol check the areas as often as possible to insure the safety of our students,” said Foothill-De Anza Community College District police chief Ronald Levine.
The parking garage where the attack took place does not have security cameras. Some students say they’ve pressured the college to have such security equipment installed..
“They basically said that De Anza does not have any money to implement that, and it would be very complicated,” said Kimberley Pramana, the Students Rights & Services Committee chairperson.
At a college district board meeting Monday night, about a dozen students took to the mic to express outrage at how administrators handled the Smith case, and the lack of security cameras..
“Honestly I feel unsafe too,” said one student. Another said he felt administrators weren’t doing their jobs if students didn’t feel safe.
The school’s president says he’s willing to meet with concerned students as soon as Tuesday.
“The broader cultural question I think the students appropriately raised, is whether or not as a campus if we can talk about how all of our students can feel safer,” said De Anza Community College President Dr. Brian Murphy.
While the administration and students tackle the academics of the issue, one student suffering the consequences says he’s stopped going to class, and may transfer schools.
“It is not a safe campus. I do not recommend that anyone come here who’s in the LGBTQ community, who’s a minority, or who has seen inequality anytime in their life. Period,” said Smith.
He says if he does return to school, he won’t take any classes at night, and will leave campus by 4 p.m. As for the president, he’s scheduled to meet with student leaders tomorrow afternoon, but there’s no word if or when security cameras will be installed.