The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Club Day Marred by Racist Incident

“I was physically shaking, my heart was beating fast, and I felt nauseous for hours later.”
Cam Lippincott
DVC Commons, filled with booths and students for club day.

On Feb. 28, Juan Villicana, a professor of early childhood education and faculty advisor of the Dreamers Club, was leaving Club Day at Diablo Valley College around 2 p.m. when he noticed a loud altercation taking place a few yards away.

“What caught my attention was someone screaming,” said Villicana, who estimated he was “probably 10 feet away from the table” where the argument occurred.

Villicana said he saw a male student having a racist outburst directed toward the Muslim Student Union. According to Huerta Villicana, the man screamed that MSU members were “all terrorists” and that they supported Islamic extremism. 

A member of the MSU, who was present at Club Day and preferred to remain anonymous, told The Inquirer their account of the incident.

“[His] questions were about Islam and the Quran at first, but as the conversation progressed, he got more targeted and flat-out Islamophobic and racist,” the student said.

“He started yelling and asking me about Sharia law, Hamas, Houthis, and ISIS, equating them to the fundamentals of Islam. We kept telling him that was not what we were talking about, and he just kept screaming and escalating the situation,” the student continued.

“We mentioned to him numerous times how we never said we supported Muslim militant groups, but he kept associating us and equating us to terrorists and terrorist supporters. He was full-on yelling and trying to show us videos of Israeli hostages being mistreated.”

The student added, “He was so worked up that he began to shake and foam at the mouth which made us very concerned for his well-being.”

The altercation comes as incidents of Islamophobia and anti-semitism have surged across the country and at college campuses following the Hamas-led massacre of 1,200 Israelis on Oct. 7 and Israel’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza that has killed over 30,000 civilians.

A University of Chicago survey of 5,000 college students across the country showed that 56 percent of Jewish college students and 52 percent of Muslim college students felt in personal danger at their universities.

As the altercation at Club Day on Feb. 28, seemed to be spinning out of control, Villicana realized he needed to take action. 

“I jumped in the middle of this commotion and said, ‘You need to leave. You need to leave now.’ That’s all I said,” said Villicana. 

“And the student was yelling all these things, [then he] looked at me for a second and realized, probably, that I wasn’t a student. Maybe I’m assuming that portion, but that’s when he began to walk backwards.”

As the student was leaving, Villicana recalled hearing him scream out, “You are all terrorist supporters!”

The anonymous MSU member said events like this have happened to them before.

“This is not the first time I am verbally attacked for my ethnicity and religion,” said the student, “yet I am never less phased or emotional about it.”

“I was physically shaking, my heart was beating fast, and I felt nauseous for hours later. I cannot help but think how much worse this could have been.” 

According to Villicana, the entire incident took place in under a minute, and due to the loud music and crowded scene at Club Day, many students present weren’t even aware that an event occurred.

In an email to all DVC students following the altercation, President Susan Lamb wrote, “DVC is committed to fostering a safe and inclusive environment. We believe in the importance of respecting diverse perspectives and ensuring that everyone feels welcome and valued on our campus.”

For students in the MSU, the event marred what was otherwise a successful outing.

“Before the incident, Club Day went extremely well,” said the anonymous student.

“We had a lot of positive engagement and support from attendees and other clubs. There were a lot of curious students interested in Islam and we provided them with answers and free resources on the religion.” 

DVC administration said it could not respond to The Inquirer’s request for comment because an investigation into “a possible Code of Conduct issue” is ongoing.

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About the Contributor
Cam Lippincott, Managing Editor

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