Identity of student responsible for racist graffiti revealed


For months, racist graffiti was found multiple times on Diablo Valley College’s Pleasant Hill campus. (The Inquirer file photo).

Pavlina Markova, Features editor

After a month-long investigation, The Inquirer learned that Francisco Calderon was responsible for two cases of racist graffiti on Diablo Valley College campus last spring. Previously unidentified, Calderon also took responsibility for the graffiti in an apology letter addressed to the college.

Both cases of graffiti appeared after an initial incident of racist graffiti that was reported on March 6, which led to a campus-wide movement against hate.

“I’m sorry to say that I am indeed responsible for the graffiti… It was a stupid attempt to be edgy to my group of online friends that has no place here,” Calderon wrote in his apology letter that The Inquirer obtained from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

Calderon’s arrest was confirmed in June in an email sent by DVC President Susan Lamb to faculty. Campus police forwarded the case to the district attorney, according to Lt. Ryan Huddleston.

“(The letter) was a part of the packet that we forwarded to the (district attorney’s) office,” Huddleston said.

Based on Calderon’s letter, and because this was his first offense, the district decided not to prosecute, according to Scott Alonso, a Contra Costa County District Attorney spokesman.

“He was never criminally charged,” Alonso told The Inquirer.

Lamb said the school administration didn’t have any influence in the district’s decision to drop charges.

“I can’t control what the (district attorney) does, and whether there is enough for criminal prosecution is a whole different thing,” Lamb said.

Calderon wrote that he hoped to be “allowed to finish (his) final semester without alarming anyone else…” The undated letter suggests that spring 2019 was his last semester at DVC.

Lamb said in an interview last month that the individual “is not on campus.” She later said Calderon faced “serious consequences,” but said she couldn’t elaborate because the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act protects the educational records of students.

Calderon wrote in his letter that as a person of color, he grew up with racism. According to him, he got used to “slurs” and “failed to consider any other individual who would have taken (the graffiti) with grave offence.”

“I have been subject to racial slurs toward my Mexican heritage all my life which made me less affected by it,” he wrote. “I do not hold hatred in my heart for any of the people here at DVC.”

The individuals responsible for the first instance of racist graffiti, reported on March 6, as well as the most recent one found on Aug. 22, remain unidentified.