Classmates remember student and activist Marc Thompson

Sep 11, 2014 6:12 PM by Brian Johnson

Chico State students gathered Thursday morning to reflect on the life of their peer who was found burned in a car fire last week.

Now, the Butte County Sheriff's Office is investigating Marc Thompson's death as a homicide.

"It's hard, pretty tragic to hear," Chico State senior Jovan Smith said.

"The reason why it hurts more is because we don't know the circumstances of what happened," Chico State graduate student Krystle Tonga.

What we do know is that 25-year-old Chico State student Marc Thompson's burned body was found in a car fire last week.

Tonga won't speculate on what may have happened, but she's more than happy to talk about her friend and fellow activist.

Or as she likes to call him, a change agent, on issues of diversity and social justice.

She says he used his powerful (and loud) voice to work towards change, and to challenge others on Chico State's campus.

"If Marc was in the room you knew he was in the room," said Tonga. "If Marc was a part of conversation, you knew he was a part of conversation."

"He would nag you and get annoying, but at the same time he'd be right, and it'd make you even more upset..." Smith said.

Thompson, an Oroville native, arrived at Chico State from Butte College.

He joined the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center and the Multicultural Affairs Council, where he served as commissioner from May 2012 to May 2013.

AS Student President Taylor Herren said he served his role as Commissioner to the fullest.

"He was so representative because he was a student of color, he came from an underserved community, [and] he was a first generation college student." Herren said.

As a man of color, Tonga sees Thompson's death as symptomatic of a larger issue, the death of another young black man.

"The fact that a young black man that was so embedded in the work of change and so embedded in the work of diversity, to lose their life and then there's suspicious of foul play, I think there's just a lot of unanswered questions and it incites fear..." Tonga said.

A fund has been set up for Thompson's funeral.


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