29-year-old Whittier College alumnus named Carlton Callway participated in a hate crime that robbed and beat three women, who happen to be transgender, in Hollywood Monday, Aug. 16. The amount of time Callway attended Whittier College is unknown, though alumni say he was a member of the football team for a brief few weeks.
This attack, defined by LAPD specifically as a hate crime, raises questions about Whittier College’s efforts as an institution to protect LGBTQIA+ students from violence. What does it mean for our Whittier College community that a graduate who was on campus less than two years ago could inflict such a hate crime — no less, against women who happen to be transgender, after receiving an education from a school that prides itself on its LGBTQIA+ acceptance?
Callway, along with two other accomplices, first hassled the three women with slurs specifically targeting their transgender identities, then later returned to break phones and steal their valuable possessions. Callway and another assailant fled while the third assailant hit one of the women with a crowbar, also threatening to return to beat the rest.
Another vile factor of the attack was its broad audience. Many onlookers, primarily men, watched the crime without intervening while it occurred, instead only live streaming and even laughing at the victims until the assailant with the crowbar left, then called the police after the women begged for help.
“Eden Estrada, Jaslene Busanet and Joslyn Allen, who were waiting for a taxi home, faced beatings, slurs and theft–while bystanders watched, filmed and laughed. Instead of calling the police, they posted videos to social media in real time.”
These bystanders can be anyone — you reading this, Whittier College students, or even college administration, which is why it is essential that everyone knows how to help in an attack and demand justice afterward. There is no evidence that Callway inflicted similar violence during his time at the College, but it does raise questions of whether organizations on campus, from the football team Callway briefly played for, to the administration itself, do enough to deter hateful speech and violence, especially when perpetrated by men, or defend vulnerable groups like its LGBTQIA+ students.
The College has not yet addressed this hate crime, though the WC athletics website has since taken down Callway’s athletic profile from his time on the football team a few days following the incident. This suggests the College does not condone Callway’s actions.
However, recent ‘20 graduate, Noah Humphrey, believes Whittier College removing affiliation with Callway is not enough action taken to bring Callway to justice. “He was a student and archiving his records isn’t a statement,” said Humphrey, “just a way to hide his face and connection with the school.”
Although the school has not yet made a statement on either Callway’s affiliation with the school or the crime against LGBTQIA+ women, the Quaker Campus will continue covering the issue and providing updates.