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KKK Style Hood at UCSD – Racial tensions escalate

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Photo from Omar Omar via Flickr

Photo from Omar Omar via Flickr

A pillow case made to look like a Ku Klux Klan-style hood was found draped over the statue of Theodor Geisel at the same spot where celebrations for the man otherwise known as Dr. Seuss were going to take place for the famed author’s birthday. The event had already been canceled as a result of the recent racial turmoil.

The statue that stands outside of the Geisel library was found with a white pillowcase “crudely fashioned into a KKK-style hood with a hand drawn symbol” draped over it, according to a statement issued by the University. A rose was also inserted into the statue’s finger. The discovery was made at around 11 pm Monday night and UCSD police are conducting an investigation.

The statement says that the items found on the statue will be processed for evidence including DNA and fingerprints, to find who is responsible. It also quotes UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox who says “we will not allow this incident, or any other incident, to deter the progress we are making to change and heal our university community.”

This is the latest incident that has come out of the controversy that started with the off campus “Compton Cookout” party two weeks ago. Tensions escalated with the airing of the student-run Koala TV show that ridiculed the outrage about the party and used a racial slur.

On Monday, UCSD’s student newspaper The Guardian printed an anonymous apology letter written by the person responsible for hanging a noose in the school’s library last Thursday. The person identified themselves as a female minority student and the newspaper stated that they verified her identity.

The student states that the incident was a “mindless act and stupid mistake,” and that it was not intended to be an act of racism. The student also explained that it was a friend that tied the piece of rope she had found earlier in the day into a noose and says that she “innocently marveled at his ability to tie a noose, without thinking of any of its connotations or the current racial climate at UCSD.”

The letter also stated that the student felt “ashamed and embarrassed” when she heard that the noose had been discovered and believed to be a racist act and that she immediately called the university police to confess.

She admitted that she had been suspended and according to the San Diego Union-Tribune she may also face criminal charges. The student apologized and stated that “as a minority student who sympathizes with the students that have been affected by the recent issues on campus, I am distraught to know that I have unintentionally added to their pain.”

As a result of the uproar, a community forum titled “UCSD On My Mind: Education is a Civil Right” will be held Wednesday at 6 pm at Mt. Erie Baptist Church. The event is being organized by The Urban League of San Diego County and the National Council of Negro Women along with other groups. The forum will feature UCSD Chancellor Fox, San Diego City Councilman Tony Young and other prominent San Diego leaders.

The discovery of the noose along with the previous incidents are drawing national attention to the university, including articles in the LA Times and condemnations from California leaders including Governor Schwarzenegger. UC leaders are also speaking out about the incidents at UCSD and other UC campuses.

The UCSD police department announced on Tuesday evening that they have filed the noose investigation as a possible hate crime with the San Diego city attorney and they also consulted with the San Diego County District Attorney’s office and the FBI on possible criminal charges according to the Union-Tribune.

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