Race relations are at the top of the agenda at the University of California San Diego following a third racial incident on campus. Although this latest event has been described as a "stupid" but honest "mistake" by the unidentified student who claims responsibility.
Last week a noose was found hanging in the school's library. But Monday an anonymous letter was published in the student newspaper and the student supposedly responsible for the noose apologized and explained herself. Identifying herself as a minority, the student said she and her friends were playing with a rope when one of them tied it into a noose.
“I innocently marveled at his ability to tie a noose, without thinking of any of its connotations or the current racial climate at UCSD. I left soon after with one of my friends for Geisel (Library) to study, still carrying the rope. After a bit of studying I picked up the rope to play with, and ended up hanging it by my desk. It was a mindless act and stupid mistake. When I got up to leave, a couple hours later, I simply forgot about it.”
The paper, the UCSD Guardian, says it has “verified the author’s authenticity.” Campus authorities said details in the letter are consistent with what they know about the incident.
The letter went on:
“I know what I did was offensive — regardless of my intentions — I am just trying to say I’m sorry. 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.”
The incident sparked a protracted demonstration Friday that led to a student takeover of Chancellor Marye Anne Fox’s office for several hours.
This is the third racial incident to hit the university. A recent off-campus student party mocked Black History Month, while a show on a student-run TV station that supported the party was laced with intentionally provocative and derogatory language directed at black students.
On Monday, Chancellor Fox met with members of the Black Student Union for several hours to talk about race issues on campus. They complained blacks are severely underrepresented on campus. Just 2% of UCSD students are black.