Home > General, Noose @ Geisel Library > Racial Intimidation at UCSD Escalates – Noose Found at Geisel Library

Racial Intimidation at UCSD Escalates – Noose Found at Geisel Library

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

4:59pm UPDATE: Chancellor Fox has just issued a video statement. Click HERE to view it.

3:49pm UPDATE: According to UCSD police, no second noose has been found. Apparently it was an unverified rumor that became viral. Things on campus right now are tense to say the least.

3:20pm UPDATE: Report of 2nd noose found at UCSD in Warren College on bear statue. An RA called it in (more details to follow).

2:25pm UPDATE: In sympathy with students of color at UCSD, black students at UCLA organized a brief sit-in at that school’s administrative headquarters, Murphy Hall, in the hallway outside the office of Chancellor Gene Block. A campus spokesman said about 100 protesters were involved, no one was arrested and there was no damage. It ended after Block went out and talked with the students and expressed concern about the situation at UC San Diego. Students at UC Irvine are also trying to meet with the administration there.

1:05pm UPDATE: C President Yudof’s statement on UCSD noose incident says student who confessed claimed she had two accomplices (see statement below).

12:45 pm UPDATE: Students are now occupying the offices of the UCSD chancellor, as the Black Student Union demands that the university close temporarily due to safety concerns. One report on Twitter suggests that they’ve given the university a 5 pm deadline.

12:00pm UPDATE: Students have now peacefully occupied the Chancellor’s office asking that the administration immediately adopt the BSU’s demands .

10:30am UPDATE: VC Matthews announced a suspect has admitted to participating in placing noose at UCSD Geisel Library. There WERE witnesses (for more scroll below). -J.F.

***

Student admits leaving noose at UCSD – Latest incident has spurred new rallies

Karen Kucher and Steve Schmidt

San Diego Union Tribune, 2.26.2010, 10:31am

SAN DIEGO — Campus police at the University of California San Diego are questioning a student who admitted she hung a noose on the seventh floor of the university library Thursday night.

The incident is the third racially charged episode on the campus in two weeks, and has spurred a new round of rallies.

“This is truly a dark day in the history of this university,” Chancellor Marye Anne Fox told students gathered along Library Walk. “It’s abhorrent and untenable.”

The noose was found hanging from a bookcase of the Geisel Library at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, and the student called at 9 a.m. Friday to confess, according to vice chancellor Gary Mattews.

“It’s someone who didn’t think that leaving a noose was an issue,” he said.

Authorities are classifying the crime as “hanging a noose with the intent to terrorize.”

At the new rally, about 300 students and others gathered near the Price Center. Some speakers read poetry, while others made speeches. Many made heartfelt pleas for racial unity and also asked students not to respond in kind.

“This is something that matters. This is something that affects all of us,” said sophomore Sharon Seegers.

Deirdre Vernon, who works on staff in policy and records administration, told the gathered students, “We are behind you and we support you 100 percent. You are loved, no matter what they hang, no matter what they burn.”

Melanie Leon, a junior studying political science who transferred to UCSD this year, said she saw a picture of the noose Friday night in a text message sent to someone at a student meeting she attended.

“I was very upset. I asked campus police to escort me to my car. It is a really awful experience to be threatened on your own campus,” Leon said.

Leon, who is Latina, said she feels threatened and fearful because of the racial tensions on campus.

“I’m in awe that people can be so hurtful and so vicious,” she said. “I don’t know if that is their idea of a joke or not, but those of us that are being affected by this, we take this very seriously.”

The racial turmoil was sparked by an off-campus party Feb. 15, dubbed the “Compton Cookout,” that mocked Black History Month, and by a subsequent show on a student-run TV station that supported the party and called blacks ungrateful, using a racial slur. A piece of cardboard was found at the TV studio with “Compton lynching” written on it.

Minority students on campus declared a racial “state of emergency” on Feb. 19 and met with campus administrators. They presented four pages of demands, most of which targeted improving the racial climate on campus. One demand was for a safe haven on campus for blacks who feel threatened or intimidated.

On Wednesday, members of the Black Student Union and their supporters walked out of an administration-organized teach-in at the Price Center focused on combating institutional racism. The students also staged a roving protest.

African-Americans make up less than 2 percent of undergraduates on the La Jolla campus.

Police are questioning other witnesses, in addition to the student who came forward. They asked anyone with information to call (858) 534-4359 or e-mail detective@ucsd.edu.

***

Protesters take over UCSD’s Chancellor’s office – they are outraged over latest episode, a noose hanging at the library

Steve Schmidt, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/26/2010, 2:23pm

SAN DIEGO — Student protesters have taken over the offices of University of California San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox as a third racially charged episode has brought a new wave of outrage.

Students are protesting atop desks and countertops throughout Fox’s suite, except for her own sanctum. They are chanting, “Real pain, real change.” Some are playing drums.

Fox has twice addressed students today, once outside the library where a noose was found last night and once in a eucalyptus grove outside her office. Students remain upset with the pace of the administration’s response to their demand for action over ongoing racial strife.

“You can’t imagine how pained we are, we are heartsick,” Vice Chancellor Penny Rue told the students on a bullhorn.

Campus police are questioning a student who admitted she hung the noose on the seventh floor of the university library, on the west side of aisle three, which faces the windows.

“This is truly a dark day in the history of this university,” Fox told students gathered earlier along Library Walk. “It’s abhorrent and untenable.”

The noose was found hanging from a bookcase of the Geisel Library at 10:30 p.m. last night, and the student called at 9 a.m. today to confess, according to vice chancellor Gary Mattews.

“It’s someone who didn’t think that leaving a noose was an issue,” he said.

Authorities are classifying the crime as “hanging a noose with the intent to terrorize.”

At a morning rally, about 300 students and others gathered near the Price Center. Some speakers read poetry, while others made speeches. Many made heartfelt pleas for racial unity and also asked students not to respond in kind.

“This is something that matters. This is something that affects all of us,” said sophomore Sharon Seegers.

Deirdre Vernon, who works on staff in policy and records administration, told the gathered students, “We are behind you and we support you 100 percent. You are loved, no matter what they hang, no matter what they burn.”

Melanie Leon, a junior studying political science who transferred to UCSD this year, said she saw a picture of the noose Friday night in a text message sent to someone at a student meeting she attended.

“I was very upset. I asked campus police to escort me to my car. It is a really awful experience to be threatened on your own campus,” Leon said.

Leon, who is Latina, said she feels threatened and fearful because of the racial tensions on campus.

“I’m in awe that people can be so hurtful and so vicious,” she said. “I don’t know if that is their idea of a joke or not, but those of us that are being affected by this, we take this very seriously.”

The racial turmoil was sparked by an off-campus party Feb. 15, dubbed the “Compton Cookout,” that mocked Black History Month, and by a subsequent show on a student-run TV station that supported the party and called blacks ungrateful, using a racial slur. A piece of cardboard was found at the TV studio with “Compton lynching” written on it.

Minority students on campus declared a racial “state of emergency” on Feb. 19 and met with campus administrators. They presented four pages of demands, most of which targeted improving the racial climate on campus. One demand was for a safe haven on campus for blacks who feel threatened or intimidated.

On Wednesday, members of the Black Student Union and their supporters walked out of an administration-organized teach-in at the Price Center focused on combating institutional racism. The students also staged a roving protest.

African-Americans make up less than 2 percent of undergraduates on the La Jolla campus.

Police are questioning other witnesses, in addition to the student who came forward. They asked anyone with information to call (858) 534-4359 or e-mail detective@ucsd.edu.

For parts 1-9 of the video reports of this morning’s protests and the subsequent chancellor’s complex occupation, click HERE.

——————————————————–

Below, I am posting emails from people I’ve been receiving. -J.F.

***

We are in a state of emergency my friends. Latest news is that a NOOSE was found hanging on the 7th floor of Geisel Library. People ask whats the big deal? Why is everyone so upset? I’ll tell you why take note of this exerpt in the autobiography of Angelo Herndon titled “Let Me Live”:

“I know many stories about Negroes who were lynched on no more just provocation than this. Sometimes the lynch mobs need neither provocation nor excuse to carry on their bestial orgies. Often I used to read with horror about the lynching of some Negro worker in the South. The most gruesome, the most disgusting lynching story I ever heard was that which concerned Hayes and Mary turner, Negro sharecroppers in Georgia. They were pauperized and their landlord had tried to rob them of everything they had produced on their land with the toil of their hands and the seat of their brows. The share cropper was man enough to stand up for his rights. He demanded that the farm products be divided equally, as had been agreed upon at the beginning of the year. The landlord grew violently abusive. He threatened him and said he would “fix” him. Terrified out of his wits, for he knew that his landlord would not stop at anything to revenge himself, Hayes Turner tried to make a quite getaway. But his landlord had not allowed grass to grow on his track. He quickly organized a posse of hooligans and the most disreputable elements in the community and gave chase to the runaway. The posse, led by the County Sheriff, caught up with Hayes Turner at the fork of the road near Barney. THEY STRUNG HIM UP ON A TREE AT WAYSIDE WHERE HE HUNG FOR TWO DAYS. Hysterical and grief-stricken, Mrs. Turner was heard to remark that she would have the lynchers arrested. When the lynch mob heard of her determination they decided they were going to teach her a lesson for such a presumption. Although she was in the eighth month of her pregnancy, THEY STRUNG HER TO A TREE AND BROKE HER NECK. THEY HANGED HER BY HER FEET AND POURED GASOLINE OVER HER. As she burned, the mob howled with glee. Then one maniac, wielding a hog-splitting knife, RIPPED HER BELLY OPEN AND THE LITTLE INFANT FELL OUT. ONE OF THE LYNCHERS STAMPED THE INFANT WITH HIS HOBNAILED SHOES INTO THE EARTH. Then the mob, driven with wild bestiality, began to howl like wolves and in their criminal sadism fired hundreds of bullets into her lifeless body.”

This my friends is the BIG DEAL. This my friends is what a noose symbolizes and if the individual that put this up or the individuals that agree with that person putting this noose up for everyone to see agrees then they are perpetuating this very act of violence and genocide of a group of human beings. So now its time to mobilize MORE THAN EVER before. It is time to come together in solidarity and struggle. Tomorrow 8am library walk WEAR ALL BLACK AND BE READY TO HAVE OUR VOICES HEARD!!!!!!!

Love and Solidarity,

Desiree Prevo, UCSD ’11

***

Dear all,

Please call on Chancellor Fox to declare a state of emergency and shut down the campus.  Last night, a group of Black students had to spend the night at the Cross because they feared for their lives if they were going to try to make it home.  This is NOT a university. Students should not fear for their lives while going to school.

It is fundamentally wrong that students and faculty of color have had to labor around the clock this past week, putting aside their study, their research, their teaching, their writing, while the rest of the campus continue as usual. It is fundamentally unfair.  Who will give them back the lost hours?  Who will compensate them for their always-uncompensated and unrecognized labor, in this case to birth an institution that is truly a place of LEARNING, in the most profound sense of that word.

We call on all of you–students, staff, faculty, union reps, librarians, and ESPECIALLY ADMINISTRATORS–to share in this labor.

Prof. Yen Espiritu, Chair, Dept. of Ethnic Studies

***

Dear Chancellor Fox:

As a Full Professor who has spent her whole 20-year career at UCSD, as Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department, and as a woman faculty of color who has faced many indignities over the years, I write to ask you to exercise your leadership today to declare a state of emergency and close down the campus–in recognition of the shattered state that the campus is in.

Since the “Compton Cookout” incident, many students and faculty of color and their allies have devoted countless hours to do your/our job of teaching about racism on campus and of ensuring that UCSD lives up to its mission as a place of learning–in the most profound sense of that word.
Their labor–physical, mental, emotional, intellectual–goes uncompensated, unrecognized, and even mocked by the largely apathetic UCSD community.  Because they have had to put aside their study, their teaching, their research, their writing, to do the university work, they will again bear the brunt of the costs of being at a university that views “diversity”, at best, as a benign celebration of multiculturalism and “economic empowerment.”

As many of us face down today in the shadow of a noose, we ask that you share in this labor and that you ask the ENTIRE community at UCSD to share in this labor.  To not do so will be to benefit, once again, from the labor of the marginalized and maligned at UCSD.

Every crisis can bring forth great change.  You have an opportunity to participate in this movement of change in a real and fundamental way.  Please do so, or we risk a campus that will be deeply divided for years to come.  The campus will be shut down, one way or another.  It’d be in our best interest that you are the one to shut it down.

Sincerely,

Yen Le Espiritu, Chair, Dept. of Ethnic Studies

***

In response to the noose that was found in the library, I believe that all faculty should stage a solidarity strike today. The admin will quickly condemn “the noose incident” and repeat Chancellor Fox’s statement recent statements  reaffirming  that the University values African American and minority students and respects the communities from which they come. That is excellent.

But this is different.

We need to make OUR pain THEIR pain.

The large number of students and professors who do not yet get it need to be as inconvenienced as we feel threatened by this act. Exam time is coming round. Let them understand what it is to study in the shadow of a noose. We need to escalate this beyond Library Walk and take it into the classroom. If the students cannot attend lectures and concentrate in class study because they are hurting and angry, THEN NEITHER CAN WE TEACH IN THE SHADOW OF A NOOSE.

We should gather on Library Walk and march across campus with all students who join us. We should choose a route that will take us to the natural sciences. We should stamp our feet and chant and boom and echo in the corridors of York Hall and Peterson Hall and everywhere else that large Bio classes are taking place.

Let us meet on Library Walk asap. But we must take this further. Anxiety about disrupted classes and the coming exams are NOT the preserve of studious but uninvolved students. The magnificent leadership that has compelled this campus to recognize our common humanity are as committed and concerned about their studies as any other student on campus. We cannot sell them out. Not now! We cannot isolate them as noisy protesters who are not really interested in hard academic work.

Many of you have been around long enough to know that universities always land on their feet. Even in South Africa, where unremitting educational strikes were the norm for more than a decade, compromises were worked out in the end and students took (modified) exams and graduated. None of this will happen here. Our students will take their exams in the normal way. Nor am I suggesting that we should rise to each and every race-baiting insult on campus. But this is a non-negotiable moment to make our moral outrage clear. We should also force the admin to feel the PRACTICAL inconvenience of studying and teaching under protest and in conditions of fear. A culture of fear iis a moral threat for the oppressed. Let us make it at least make it a practical inconvenience for bystanders and the institution’s minders.

We need, too, to make it clear that this is a glimpse of the future. Racism, arrogance and cruel bigotry will run rampant when privatization and the “restructuring” of universities will expunge citizen-students of colour from campus. Who will assemble the masses on the steps of Price Center when the number of black students is pared down close to zero and study in the shadow of another noose? Who will rescue this university from the same  shameful apathy that brought us to this crisis–and which will return as soon as we drop our guard? We need to save the university from its innermost self, which is where apathy, routinized indifference and racial resentment remain deeply rooted. We need to say clearly, this noose threaten not just us, but the university.

The noose shows how this week and next week are connected. This week we said, “we are moved” to fight for our rights. Next weeek says, “We shalll not be re-moved!” from this campus. These two movements are organically bonded. This is what the noose has done. It has tethered the university’s functioning to our anger. That is what we need to make clear to the mass of students and to the university: racism and hatred are a generalized threat to the entire UCSD.

Bring UCSD to a grinding halt. I recommend that we meet on Library Walk, quickly caucus with the BSU and its allies, go on strike and stage marches that cannot be ignored.

Prof. Ivan Evans, Dept. of Sociology

***

Here are some pictures of this morning’s protest in response to the noose incident (this was organized in seven hours) . -J.F.


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  1. AF
    February 26, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Can you please elaborate on why students felt their lives were threatened and therefore decided to sleep at the Cross? The noose is an ugly and terrible symbol of racism and violence, but does seeing a noose mean that there’s an imminent threat to one’s life?

    • February 26, 2010 at 7:21 pm

      In response to your question (which I’m hoping is sincere), if you look at the FBI registry for hate crimes, of the 9,168 hate crime offenses reported in 2008 in the US,
      -19.4 percent were simple assault.
      -11.2 percent were aggravated assault.
      -7.5 percent were comprised of additional crimes against persons, property, and society.

      Of these 9,168 incidents, 51.4% were motivated by racial bias and of that 51%, 72.6% were motivated by anti-black bias.

      Of all the incidents that were counted as hate crimes against persons (5,554 in total), 7 were murders and 11 were forcible rapes.

      If you don’t know about the history of racially motivated lynchings in this country and the symbolism of a noose, and if you are unaware that right now there are 926 active hate groups in California (as registered by the Southern Poverty Law Center), 84 of which exist in California (the most of any state), then you really have a serious problem. Most people of color are hyper-aware that these groups are out there (thanks again to the thousands of hate crimes registered each year).

      Be grateful that you are privileged enough to not know what it’s like to be afraid for your safety simply because of your racial and/or ethnic identity. Unfortunately, for some of us who know from what’s happened to relatives in the past and what’s happened to other people we know that look or speak like us, not being afraid by something like this is not an easy thing to do.

      • AF
        February 26, 2010 at 8:32 pm

        Thanks for the response. It’s well-taken and much appreciated.

      • AF
        February 26, 2010 at 9:13 pm

        I don’t mean to detract from the seriousness of the discussion at hand, but I think you were presumptuous in assuming that I’ve never known what it’s like to be afraid for my safety because of my identity. I’m Arab-American and went to a low-income public high school during and following Sept. 11, and I’ve lived abroad in places where being either American or Arab can have serious consequences.

      • February 26, 2010 at 11:35 pm

        You are right. It was wrong to presume. I apologize for that.

    • 4Real
      February 26, 2010 at 7:56 pm

      Student lives were at risk before the noose and before the Compton lynching message. People do not see the physical threat until someone is physically hurt or dead, but by then it is too late. It is already too late. Any student that has stepped up publicly and has made their face and name known has endangered themselves. Those who are not under threat may want to wait until someone is raped or assaulted before they want to voice concern or take action, but those who are under threat do not want to wait for that to happen because it is them. This is why they camped out at Cross Cultural Center. They needed all 1.3% and their allies for protection. I commend my friend for being one of those allies last night.

  2. February 26, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    @AF:
    Given the history (see above for an example), I’d say that the displaying of a noose *is* an imminent threat to one’s life. It is a threat to take one’s life for nothing more than being born into a particular ethnic group. It is an appeal to the past, saying “we’ve done this before, we’re willing to do it again”.

    What surprises me is that California universities are bastions of ultra-liberal political correctness, yet the UCSD Chancellor doesn’t appear to have reacted as the heads of any other UC or CSU campus would have. You don’t have to be left-wing (I’m not) to wonder what part the administration plays in the situation, given their failure to act.

  3. GW
    February 26, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    This shows that many people are ignorant, educated or not. The action was ignorant and the reaction is even more ignorant. Do not overreact or make a big deal of this because it only gives credence to the ignorant act.

  4. me
    February 26, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Where is the Cross in all this? Where is the leadership from them? I have heard nothing coming from them. Where are you CROSS?

    • February 26, 2010 at 8:56 pm

      I would like to clarify something here: the Cross has been all over this from the very get go. Edwina and the rest of the staff have been invaluable to us all these past two weeks. Just to give you an example, when people found out about the noose late last night, some of them felt too unsafe to return to their dorms. Edwina personally drove to campus and opened the Cross Cultural Center and made it available to them so they could spend the night there. We owe a great deal of gratitude to them.

  5. 4Real
    February 26, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    After hearing news of this 2nd noose, it seems clear that a group of people are really trying to start a race riot by antagonizing the situation. These threats are no surprise. I truly believe that the UCSD Black Student Union carries the spirit of the SNCC. There will BE NO RACE RIOT TO DISCREDIT THE PROTESTS.

    • 4Real
      February 27, 2010 at 1:16 am

      Thank God there was no 2nd noose.

  6. ccw
    February 27, 2010 at 5:31 am

    The easiest way to manipulate a group of people is to maintain them in a state of constant fear.

    As a person of color myself and a first-generation immigrant, I’d like to know if the way to conquer fear is to instill more fear by isolating a particular group of students by racial profiling, by assuming that they share a common, historical, not-so-distant past. If one is black and does not share the same fears and paranoia, does that make him/her less worthy of belonging to his or her racial group? What does it mean to belong? I follow this story with interest and wonder if in 2010, there are more empowering, freer ways of envisioning and expressing black identity, and what/who is stopping that from happening? Can’t be the noose…

  7. February 27, 2010 at 6:02 am

    I was completely shocked and enraged when i learned about this.
    @ ucsdcoalitionforeducationaljustice thank you for posting this, i found it to be very informative. i only wish I was there to stand up with everyone.

  8. drew davis
    March 2, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Seriously, UCSD stop making everything a racial matter… a noose is a joke!
    A joke that an ignorant person will use to provoke all this ruckus… stop being such stereotypes and stop reacting this way to their attacks, instead focus on the bigger picture, there are more attacks on whites every day, they are threaten by all the anti-white comments, attacks like the one you guys are having. What happened in the past does not affect you, we as minorities must understand that white people learn to dislike us for reasons like this one, we over react and blame them, blame them for everything. let the past go, you guys started this by protesting the BBQ, now an ignorant turd came along and reacted in a manner that was unacceptable, whats next?! stop playing the role that doesn’t fit you, stop and asked yourself how many times you have made a joke of another race? Don’t lie to yourself, let this one go because its causing more damage than a symbol will.

    • Matt
      March 3, 2010 at 3:05 am

      No history, no self. Know history, know self. The moment you try to forget history and to leave it in the past is the moment you deny an integral part of yourself and the true understanding of society. We are all affects of history and the stories that have come before us. Why else do you think they make us take history in high school. History repeats itself only if we are unaware of it. We need to understand our past to know how to proceed in the future and to avoid the things that have caused social strife and disparity.

      And “stop playing the role that doesn`t fit you”? Really now…who are you to tell them what role fits them. That sounds an awful lot like what slave owners used to tell their slaves.

      • drew davis
        March 4, 2010 at 2:54 am

        Ask yourself one thing, what it is that you want to accomplish… did you ever have an owner?!
        Who are you to tell them to play the role of victims?!
        Matt, right?! you are overreacting and playing a game that will never end, you are not affected by what happened in history, but you are affecting everyone by your actions and attacks against whites… who are you to blame whites? Start protesting the “BLACK” student union, and “LATINO” student union! thats racist… MECHA thats just ignorant historical classification of oneself! really stop being a racist, your attack on a simple action by a dumb kid means nothing… change yourself, you are leading an attack on the white community of your campus… Equality means everyone, not “blame the whites” stop being a hypocrite! If you are fully aware, than attack the racist rap songs, movies, and comedians of color that attack whites… I’m not standing up for whites alone, but remember this ,”Equality means everyone!”…

        p.s. Reply!

  9. drew davis
    March 2, 2010 at 7:40 am

    stop making everything a racial thing, your doing more damage by protesting than the noose does… ask yourself what your goal is… and if you are truly fighting against racism start with all the rappers that have loads to say against whites

  1. February 28, 2010 at 12:27 am

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