“The Laramie Project” sets forward community dialogue about hate crime


William Roman

President of De Anza College, Brian Murphy answers questions from the audience about the hate crime at Conference Rooms A and B on Wednesday, Feb. 14..

Emotions ran high during a community discussion about hate crimes that was facilitated by the Office of Equity at De Anza College on Wednesday, Feb. 14.
The screening of “The Laramie Project” which is part of the event series “Engagement in the Face of Hatred” and the discussion afterwards were in response to a transgender De Anza College student having fallen victim to a hate crime in the Flint Garage in late January.
The film is a depiction of a series of interviews with the people of Laramie, Wyoming in the wake of the beating and death of a gay University of Wyoming student as the community comes to grips with the perpetrators being local men.
“I’d never seen that movie before, and I think it’s important to bring attention and [have] discussions like this,” said Max Comito-Steller, 22, English major.
“The Office of Equity focuses on multicultural education and serves as a resource for the college,” said Alicia Cortez, interim dean for equity and engagement at De Anza College. “We support students‘ goals and making them successful and making sure this is a safe and comfortable place for students to excel in.”
The community discussion was started off by a student and quickly became emotional when one student asked the room what she should have done when she found a hate group poster on campus.
Brian Murphy, President of De Anza College, was also in attendance and answered the student’s concern by saying that she did the right thing by taking down the poster and that the campus is swept every morning before dawn for unauthorized posters.
He committed to continuing the conversation between students and faculty.
Zoe Hernandez, 24, undecided major, said she was glad the Office of Equity was responding, but that she thought the college could do more.
“There’s no security cameras in the Flint Center [garage] and in the cafeteria there are cameras pointing right at the registers so you don’t steal food and I think that safety late at night in the parking garage is more important than stealing a bagel,” Hernandez said.