Image by Christina Olivas  via Wikimedia Commons.
Image by Christina Olivas via Wikimedia Commons.

San Jose State University’s president, who came under fire over a bullying case involving a black student who said he was tormented by classmates with a Confederate flag and racially charged insults, will step down to become an adviser to the president of Afghanistan, the Long Beach-based CSU system announced Monday.

Mohammad Qayoumi, who has been president of SJSU since 2011, will step down Aug. 17. He will become the chief adviser for infrastructure and technology to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, according to CSU.

“Mo is leaving the campus with a solid fiscal foundation and proud legacy of achievements,” CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said. “His laser focus on innovation, coupled with his tireless work in expanding the visibility of the campus within the technology sector, have advanced the campus’ stronghold in the region as a leading provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) graduates.

“The trustees and I thank Mo for his decades of service to the CSU,” he said. “We are also thrilled that he is being given this unique professional opportunity to contribute to infrastructure projects that will improve the quality of life and prosperity of the people of Afghanistan.”

Qayoumi has been with the CSU since 1986 and has served as a professor and administrator of Cal State Northridge and president of Cal State East Bay, according to the university system.

The SJSU campus was rocked by scandal in fall 2013 when a 17-year-old freshman, later identified as Donald Williams Jr., claimed he was subjected to racially charged bullying by classmates who hung a Confederate flag in his dorm, wrote the “N-word” on a dry erase board in the room, fastened a bike lock around his neck and referred to him as “three-fifths,” a reference to the government’s former system of considering blacks a fraction of a person.

Williams’ attorney claimed the university was slow to respond to the allegations, and the head of a task force appointed by Qayoumi to investigate the matter said the university waited five weeks to discipline the students involved.

— City News Service 

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