One month ago, around 11 p.m. on Aug. 26, a black 18-year-old Humboldt State University student was slashed in the left arm near the corner of 14th and G streets in Arcata, according to a police report, and some HSU students want to know why school administrators didn’t inform the campus community.
According to Arcata Chief of Police Brian Ahearn, the unidentified student reported seeing what appeared to be a transient man waving a knife in one hand. As he walked past the man, the student waved his hands, resulting in a two-inch cut on his left arm.
The student ran from the scene and over the pedestrian bridge that crosses above Hwy. 101 from G Street to L K Wood Boulevard. APD officers found droplets of blood on the bridge the next day, though it’s unknown whether they were connected with the incident.
Once the student arrived at the Jolly Giant Commons student housing complex, officers with the Arcata Police Department and University Police Department responded, along with fire and ambulance personnel. The student was transported to the Mad River Community Hospital, where he received four stitches.
The student reported having a previous incident with the man, Ahearn said.
Ahearn said there is no video of the altercation, but some video has been found that corroborates the student’s path that night.
“We are currently investigating the case,” Ahearn told the Outpost. “We are looking for community members to help us identify who the suspect may be.”
The suspect was described as a white adult male around 5’ 7” wearing baggy blue jeans, a dark jacket, brown shoes and a blond beard.
Though there’s nothing in the police report to indicate that this incident was racially motivated, students who are still angered by the unsolved death of HSU student David Josiah Lawson in April 2017 are drawing a connection.
The “Justice for David Josiah Lawson” Facebook page posted the following on Wednesday evening:
Deema Hindawi, an HSU senior majoring in criminology and justice studies, is upset that the university didn’t release a statement alerting students of the incident. She said she heard about the stabbing around shortly after it happened, but was unsure if it was true or not. She went on to say that the university needs to be more transparent about what goes on around the campus.
“The university does not give a shit about students,” Hindawi told the Outpost. “Especially POC [people of color] and black students. We just generally need to be supported.”
Hindawi went on to say the cultural centers are underfunded and there are not enough POC involved in the Counseling and Psychological Services. She said that as a student of color she feels ignored by the administration — both past and current.
“As a student of color it is hard to exist here when you know there is still no justice for the black student that was murdered two-and-a-half years ago,” Hindawi said.
Yadira Cruz, president of HSU’s Associated Students, said that while the university has to handle incidents like this on a case-by-case basis, she would have liked them to alert the student population given the vicinity of the incident and the frequency of student traffic in that area.
Cruz went on to say that she believes race and issues surrounding enrollment and recruiting efforts played a factor in why the university did not alert the student body about the incident.
“I feel like if they knew that happened, they should have warned people,” Cruz told the Outpost. “I think students should know what is going on.”
HSU spokesman Grant Scott-Goforth said that without a name the university can’t confirm whether the victim is a student. He also said the university does not have a comment as the investigation is being handled by APD.
Anyone with information may contact the Arcata Police Department at 707-822-2426.