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Investigation continues into racist incident at SLAC

STANFORD -- Officials from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) are continuing their efforts to find out who wrote a racial epithet and embedded a knife in the office door of a Japanese- American employee at SLAC last week.

Chuck Taniguchi, storeroom manager in SLAC's Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory and a shop steward of the United Stanford Workers labor union, arrived at work May 17 to find the knife and the words "Go Home Jap" written nearby on a chalkboard.

The perpetrator also apparently spit on the doorknob, sliced through documents Taniguchi had posted on the board, and tore down a picture of Cesar Chavez that Taniguchi had posted as a memorial to the late labor leader.

Taniguchi told the Stanford Daily that he had been the target of other incidents of harassment in the past few years, but that this was the most disturbing.

"I'm very emotionally upset about this," he said.

In a subsequent memo to all SLAC employees, Director Burton Richter said the incident showed "unacceptable behavior in our workplace and will not be tolerated." In addition to being racist, the incident apparently involved some type of "anti-union sentiment," he said.

The union, for its part, "has turned full attention to assure that Chuck is protected and his well-being re-established," Union President Fred Harris wrote in a letter to Campus Report.

He added, "We are insisting that a complete and factual investigation reveal the entire details of the most recent offense, that the details of this investigation be fully available to the union, and that there be no diversions or cover-up tactics by management."

SLAC and San Mateo County Sheriff's Department officials also are investigating two recent break-ins at SLAC.

In the first, a SLAC technician arrived at his office May 14 to discover some of his drafting equipment gone and his personal files in disarray. On the same day, all the janitor assistants' lockers were broken into. No messages were found.



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