Arcata incident renews doubts of local safety and transparency
A black 18-year-old HSU student reported being slashed with a knife near 14th and G streets in Arcata on Aug. 26, according to a Humboldt State University press release sent out Friday, Sept. 27.
The incident occurred more than a month ago, but students are only just hearing about it. Associated Students President Yadira Cruz wished HSU had notified students to avoid feelings of mistrust.
“To avoid that, just send out an email as soon as it happens,” Cruz said. “Just develop that transparency.”
The press release went on to summarize the events after the student fled Arcata and returned to HSU.
“Paramedics were called, and they were taken to Mad River Community Hospital where they were treated for the injury,” the press release, written by HSU Interim Vice President of Enrollment Management Jason Meriwether, said.
Cruz said the student has reported being physically fine as of Monday.
The incident, which largely flew under the radar until reporting from Lost Coast Outpost dug it up for a story published on Thursday, Sept. 26, is now under investigation by the Arcata Police Department.
The HSU press release noted multiple media narratives and sought to clarify the situation. On the night of the incident, HSU determined that no threat to the campus existed, and did not send out a notification.
The release also noted no evidence of the incident being a hate crime, which would warrant notification.
“If there had been an imminent threat or evidence of a hate crime, the campus community would have been alerted by text and email using HSU Alert,” the release said.
Cruz, along with several HSU faculty and staff, reviewed and gave consultation for the release.
Cruz first heard about the incident from a Lost Coast Outpost reporter seeking her comment. Cruz wondered whether HSU would’ve notified students if it weren’t in the midst of an enrollment decline.
In any case, Cruz wished HSU had notified the campus, regardless of whether the incident appeared to be a hate crime.
“Saying it’s not race-related is not a valid excuse,” Cruz said.
The press release emphasized Humboldt’s close-knit community and called HSU the “Humboldt Family.” However, Cruz doubted the sincerity.
“The campus tells us they care about us only when something bad happens,” Cruz said.