Arcata Stabbing Victim Receives Posthumous Certificate of Achievement From Humboldt State University

 David Josiah Lawson memorial

A photo of David Josiah Lawson at his memorial service held at HSU. [Image provided by Humboldt State University]

Press release from Humboldt State University:

Humboldt State University has granted a posthumous Certificate of Achievement to David Josiah Lawson, a 19-year-old student who died on April 15.

The certificate was presented by an HSU representative at Lawson’s funeral, which was May 1 in Moreno Valley, Calif. Among those in attendance at the funeral were friends from HSU including members of Brothers United.

Lawson was a sophomore studying criminology at HSU and had been elected president of Brothers United. At a Celebration of Life held on campus on April 20, hundreds gathered as family and friends shared memories and told of his warm smile and his kindness.

Lawson was killed the morning of April 15 in Arcata. A suspect was arrested and is in court for an initial hearing this week.

Humboldt State continues to provide support for the students, faculty, and staff who have been most affected. HSU is also providing assistance to local law enforcement in investigating the incident.

Earlier Chapters:



  • Jesus Christ. WTF ?

    Hmmm… Based on the ‘current’ testimony… he assaulted several people.

  • Shouldn’t people wait until all the facts come out at trial before jumping to honor him?

  • Me thinks they should have waited a bit longer before doing this. If something comes out in this trial that shines a less-than-golden light on this kid, HSU will have a whole lot of egg on their collective faces. Oh wait…this is the current state of much of our society: give everybody a certificate, regardless.

    • Participation trophy.

    • It’s more than that…They are catering to this kid because of his skin color. Humboldt State gets extra Federal MONEY for having a minority qouta of 22%. They don’t want to piss off the black kids because then they will loose their funding!

      Check it out for yourself. Black kids are receiving acceptance letters to Humboldt State when they didn’t even apply to the school!

      Money..Money..Money…Humboldt State has Gotta keep their token blacks to get that extra coin..

  • if you go get killed in a violent drunken altercation hsu will give you an award?

  • I’m sorry the kid died and feel very bad for his family. This tragic incident never should have happened and I can’t imagine the pain I would feel if my child were to be taken so young and in such a violent manner.

    I’m also tired of seeing the race card pulled at every opportunity. Enough is enough.

    I lost all respect for HSU’s President Rosbacher when she went out of her way to validate the victim mentality within HSU’s black community by publically apologizing for not saying that Humboldt is a racist county.

    HSU is nothing more than a pathetic joke and is getting worse day by day.

  • “Come up to HSU,” they said, “It will be fun!” And safe. Don’t worry, we are not the racist, backwoods mud puddle of rednecks you might fear. Come on up and enjoy the new, improved Humboldt!

    Well, it didn’t turn out too well. College kid partying with friends (normal) gets involved in a big 3 a.m. brawl (semi-normal) and gets killed (not acceptable at all) after some dizzy chick and her coked-up friends lose a phone and start accusing the “N’s” of stealing it.

    I think it’s HSU who feels the egg on their face. So, a gesture of apology and appreciation. I don’t see what achievement, if any, the certificate mentions… but the fact is, Josiah Lawson was doing fine at HSU and his time there should have been worth something. If it’s just a little piece of paper with some nice words on it, who would begrudge him and his traumatized family that little token?

    • I appreciate the kindness of your comment.

    • Excellent comment laura.

      • Thinking allowed

        So referring to the whole county as racist backwoods rednecks is to be considered kind while holding off judgement in a case where the facts have not been established, the hearing not even concluded , is evidence of being one of those backwoods racist rednecks and unkind.

        Oh, well. It really sounded so strangely and completely insulting that to call it kind could easily have been sarcasm. It is now clear that was not meant to be taken that way.

        • Thinking allowed: Allow yourself to think this way for a moment… There’s a difference between seeing things as they may be seen by others, and saying things *are* that way. Are you with me? So, when i put words in the hypothetical mouths of people considering moving up to an area where they will be much more a minority than they are in, say, the Bay Area or Southern Cal., i am imagining–based on things i’ve heard from people from those areas–that they might think it an unwise choice to come up to the backwoods. The news coming out of Humboldt, between the weed-related killings, sex abuse scandals, homeless population, meth problems, etc., is not good.
          I’m not saying all that news represents all of Humboldt. Just that it is a picture that’s painted, and HSU does try to overcome the image in beckoning a diverse student population. But that whitewashing must seem, in retrospect, to have been a horrible bill of goods to those who sent their loved one up here and got a corpse back.

          Also, i did not hazard one guess as to who did what, or who killed whom… I said he wound up killed after events precipitated by the drama of a missing phone, and made reasonable (to me, yes) assumptions about the characters of those involved in that snafu. So far, the fact of this general drama seems not to be in dispute, although the details are.

          OK back to thinking whatever you think that can turn my attempt to see things as they may have been seen by others, undeniable victims in this affair, into a condemnation of Humboldt Co. as a whole. In general, i love Humboldt… why else would i be here? And why would i bother to keep commenting on these blogs if i didn’t care what went on here?

          • Thinking allowed

            If you say that you were trying to view Humboldt as an outsider would, I won’t say otherwise. It did not read that way.

            More than that, I tend to like those redneck natives who do so much of the working and living here. Who do the necessary things to keep this place going while trying to mind their own business. I like the live and let live of them rather more than those who think to order everyone else’s lives. That is one of the most unusual parts of Humboldt Co that is different than elsewhere. Or was different.

    • Dizzy chick with coked up friends, where did you get that information?

      • Keepyourselfupdated

        Yesterday’s article in the Redwood Times newspaper.

      • says: Gleaton said several times that she was very intoxicated that morning. She drank heavily and used cocaine. She said she didn’t remember much after seeing the guy bleeding to death. says: Day Two of the preliminary hearing for Kyle Zoellner started with Naiya Wilkins with brief direct and then cross examination by Zoellner’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Luke Brownfield.
        She denied biting the woman identified as Josiah’s girlfriend when questioned by DDA Roger Rees.
        During cross, Wilkins said she received a death threat from an unknown number that she reported to APD.
        She also said she drank alcohol and did a bump of cocaine in the bathroom with Casey Gleaton.

        • Whoa, ok.

        • So what, she admitted to doing coke at a party and loosing stuff? That gives 3 guys the right to violently assaulted one guy? A d you the right to call an entire county racist? If you don’t like country folk, leave this backwoods county, but assume we are racist because we like living in the forest is absurd.

          • Jaekelopterus

            You have the right to kick drunk cokeheads out of your party. You also have the right to use up to lethal force to disarm a murderous lunatic with a knife. Why do you think the drunk-and-on-drugs guy picking a fight at a party is the one who’s use of force is justifed*?

            *SPOILER ALERT: Because you’re racist.

            • Just to be clear: There has been no evidence presented that the suspect was on drugs.

            • Nor was there evidence that he had ingested alcohol. Call me all you want to, strangers opinions of me always makes me chuckle:)

              • His girlfriend admits to being drunk and coked out when she started the fight. Why were these guys wrong to kick her and her boyfriend out of the party?

  • It’s a certificate of achievement. Something he would have received anyway. Assuming he didn’t deserve it is absurd! Regardless of the situation the morning of his death. He earned this while a student at HSU. All the negative comments make no sense. This young man died. His family is mourning his death as well as the community. Until we know the whole story you all should enjoy your negativity at home quietly. Please….

    • I didn’t know you can get a certificate for just being a student at HSU. I thought you had to complete all classes in you field, then you get a diploma. Silly me. And to think I spent four years years there. I couda grajeated and got me a one of them there sertifukets. Gollllly yee.

      • Seems like the price of your life would keep most folks from wanting to get one. I fail to understand the bitterness at giving his family some acknowledgment that he had completed many college units. What harm was done? Do you think he’s going to get a job with it?

  • Several people have shared many sides of the story here and on other news venues.
    Most telling to me is the deceased FB page. It’s full of hate for cops and obviously racially motivated hate.

    • Jaekelopterus

      \You’re a racist tool. Everyone has the right to throw drunk cokeheads out of their party, regardless of their race or political opinions. Seriously, WTF do you think they did wrong? Thought crimes?

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