Police, UC officials probing noose found in UCSD library as hate crime

The discovery of a noose found hanging in the UC San Diego library prompted police on Friday to open a hate-crime investigation and outraged students to storm the chancellor’s office.

The discovery also prompted Mark G. Yudof, president of the UC system and Russell Gould, chair of the UCC Board of Regents to issue a statement on what they called “a despicable expression of racial hatred.”

Saying the are “outraged,” the statement added, “It has no place in civilized society and it will not be tolerated — not on this particular campus, not on any University of California campus. A full investigation is underway by both campus and law enforcement officials. We support it. Appalling acts of this sort cannot go unpunished.”

Authorities received reports about 10:30 Thursday night about the rope noose suspended from a bookcase on the seventh floor of Geisel Library, according to a bulletin released by the UCSD Police Department.

No one reported seeing the noose being placed in the area, which is next to an aisle and west-facing windows, officials said. Friday morning, however, a student came forward and admitted that she had put the knotted rope in the library, campus spokesman Rex Graham said.

There was no immediate word on whether the woman had been arrested, though the incident was being investigated as a hate crime and an act committed “with intent to terrorize,” Graham said.

At an afternoon news conference, Fox said the student has been suspended.

“We will not tolerate hate on our campus, and all criminal acts will be punished,” Fox said.

“I strongly condemn the offensive acts of hate and bias that have occurred over the past days,” she added. “It is deplorable that while our students, faculty and staff work to heal the campus, a few misguided individuals tried to divide it.”

Around midday, students angry about the incident and other recent racially charged occurrences at the La Jolla-area university marched on Chancellor Marye Anne Fox’s office and entered, chanting “Real pain, real change!” as some of them played drums, according to reports from the scene.

In Friday’s statement the university president and Board of Regents president also said, “... we will work in every way possible to ensure that all members of the UC San Diego community and the entire University system can learn and live in the safe and civil environment called for in the codes of conduct in place on each campus and facility.

“To the UCSD students and all others who have been confronted with this ugliness, and who are understandably traumatized by it, we extend both our sympathy and our pledge to root out racism whenever and wherever it arises on our campuses.

“Now is the time for all members of the UC community to dig deep into their hearts and consciences and to reach out to one another with compassion and understanding. Now is the time to affirm that there is no place for any expression of racism.”

The racial concerns on campus stemmed from a Presidents’ Day party that was intended to mock Black History Month.

Called the “Compton Cookout,” the event encouraged attendees to dress and act in a manner that school officials say perpetuated racist stereotypes.

The situation was inflamed several days later when racially insensitive language was reportedly used on a student-run television program called KoalaTV during a discussion about the party.

UCSD administrators have condemned the racially themed party and said in a statement they are investigating the incidents for violations of the student code of conduct.

On Wednesday, thousands of students and administrators attended a “teach-in” at the campus held to address the ghetto-themed party and the racial unrest it sparked on campus, but the event was disrupted when the bulk

of students in attendance walked out.

About an hour into the event at the university’s student center, two female students with the Black Student Union stood up and condemned it, with one saying,"The university and our community will not be fixed by a two-hour teach-in.”

Saying the university was doing little to address racism on campus, the pair urged their fellow students in the packed auditorium and overflow room to march out of the event, and the vast majority complied.

The students then gathered en masse outside the auditorium, continuing to chant. Members of the Black Student Union work black T-shirts with the slogan “Real Pain Real Action.”

About 3,000 people gathered at the teach-in and resulting demonstration — with whites making up about half of the crowd. About 2 percent of UCSD’s students are black.