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Apr 05, 2014 06:01 AM EDT

San Jose State Fires 18 Residential Advisers for Unidentified Reasons

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Richard Spencer's University of Florida speech sparks mass protest

The San Jose State University has fired 18 residential advisors working in several dorms on campus without giving any reasons. New advisers, recruited for the fall of 2014, have been asked to prepone their joining date to finish the academic year.

The sudden mass dismissal of the RA's, comprising 20 percent of the university's overall housing staff, has raised questions whether it is linked to the racial attack on a black student November 2013 or if there's indeed a larger problem on campus or is it just a staff reshuffle.

Several students alleged that persistent problem of underage drinking on campus might have triggered the mass dismissal, Bakersfield Californian reports. While other campus community members feel that hate crime allegations made by an African-American student last fall might have prompted the removal of the RA's.

"The changes in staffing in residence life were unrelated to the hate crime incident," said LaDoris Cordell, a task force chair. "The incident that occurred, I believe, should not have happened and would not have happened if there had been the better training that we are recommending," abc reports.

"It's a hard time to be an R.A. It's a struggle for them right now to look for a place to live, they've been given a week to figure out their living situation," Student Peter Lee said.

The reshuffling of employees comes seven months after the black student complained about being harassed by Logan Baeschler, 18, and three other white freshman roommates at a campus dorm. The roommates allegedly displayed Nazi imagery and the Confederate flag in their dormitory, attempted to fasten a U-shape bicycle lock around his neck, used racial slurs like "three-fifths" or "fraction", barricaded him in his room and threatened him with a golf club.

The freshman student from Bakersfield, recently identified as Donald Williams Jr., has filed a $5 million damages claim against the university and his R.A. Williams claimed that RAs and  especially Charles May, was well aware of the harassment by his roommates but the university student employee did nothing to help him. Williams plans to file a lawsuit if the University rejects his claim.

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