Columbia University football player charged with hate crime

A Columbia University football player has been arrested for a hate crime outside a university dorm. And police are tracking down other students that were involved in the incident.

NBC New York reports, “The 19-year-old victim, who is Asian, told police he was leaving a dorm on West 113th Street early Sunday when the suspect, identified as Chad Washington, began calling him slurs and started following him. Washington then pushed him against a wall and grabbed him by his collar, the victim told police.” The incident was witnessed by a school security officer who “told police he thought it was a group horsing around.”

Chad Washington, a sophomore majoring in political science, was taken into custody yesterday after the victim identified him near campus. He has been charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime.

According to the Columbia Spectator, Washington lives in the McBain dorm, which is at 113th and Broadway. He recently wrote an op-ed in the Spectator, asking that student athletes be given more respect (Columbia’s athletics are a sore spot; the football team has been 3-19 in the past three seasons and few students support various teams):

 Most of my fellow students at Columbia feel so divided from athletes because, once again, sports have never been a part of their life. During Friday nights in high school, they were probably in the library and not at the football game. During the Homecoming pep rally, future Columbia students were most likely working on extra homework and problem sets. There is nothing wrong with making those choices. But by doing so, these students are distancing themselves from a huge and important part of life. The problem doesn’t lie with the athletes, but instead the students who surround them. In Contemporary Civilization, we learn about the tyranny of the majority. As only 13 percent of all Columbia students, athletes are clearly in the minority. Columbia is nothing like a democracy, but at the same time, opinions reflect the manners of the majority.

Columbia gave very little details about the incident but said, “We can only say that Columbia is widely recognized for the core values long defining us as an urban university community: the multi-cultural diversity of our students, faculty and staff; our openness to people and ideas; and tolerance for our differences. And we will continue to be guided by these essential values.”

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  • Alfalfa

    Columbia is usually considered the 4th best Ivy, after HYP. It’s never been borderline. The mediocre Ivies have pretty much always been Brown, UPenn outside of Wharton, and Cornell. Some would put Dartmouth at the bottom as well. HYP and then C are always considered the best 4 Ivies. Of course, you’re still right that no one would make a list where Columbia was in the top 5 internationally. In the US alone it’s HYPSM (Stanford & MIT) way before getting to Columbia, and Cambridge and Oxford are undoubtedly before it on the worldwide scale.

    (I say this as someone who goes to a school that has a huge rivalry with Harvard, and as a daughter of a Cornell alumna, so please don’t assume I’m merely promoting my own favorites and denigrating the rest.)

  • Alfalfa

    This doesn’t much surprise me. I go to a top school with many Asians in the student body and see so much anti-Asian racism. I’ve heard from friends about the same sorts of sentiments being common at schools like Harvard, Princeton, Northwestern, and Dartmouth, which are all of course also top schools with a largely Asian student body.

    The degree to which casual racism is acceptable here is insane. “Too Asian” is an insult that everyone understands. People look at you funny when they mock a Chinese accent and you don’t laugh along. My friend once complained that the prospective student she was hosting was a “f-ing Asian” before having even met the girl, and was confused as to why I stormed out of the room. Three of my friends once spent nearly an hour drawing offensive caricatures and writing “ching chong” style jokes on a picture of two Asian women. And this is all considered standard and acceptable behavior. It’s only when something happens like this assault at Columbia or another at Northwestern a few years ago happens that anyone says anything. Of course assaults are going to happen when the attitudes that legitimize such violence go unchallenged everyday.