BUS addresses racial tensions

Christina Stavale

The executive board of the Black United Students organization held a press conference yesterday afternoon in the Kiva to address racial issues on campus in light of recent vandalism and rumors of hate crimes. GAVIN JACKSON | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

The rumors of a noose hanging on campus may be true, considering recent happenings at Kent State and other college campuses, said Sasha Parker, president of Black United Students.

The press conference was held so members of the BUS executive board could speak to the media and students regarding recent racial issues on campus.

Rumors surfaced Sept. 27 of a noose being hung in a professor’s office in the department of Pan-African Studies. Police investigated the situation after a caller alerted them to the situation and found nothing.

No names are known as of yet regarding how the rumors began.

Campus maintenance found the “n-word” spray painted on a university sign Sept. 22, and this weekend the sign for the Lincoln Building, the department of Pan-African Studies’ temporary quarters, was vandalized. Parker said dirt has recently been thrown at the building as well.

She said the vandalism may be linked to racism and these other incidents in light of everything else that has happened.

“This is not an opportunity for African American students to pull the race card,” said Quiera Lige, academic affairs chair of BUS. “We just want people to be aware of the community that we’ re living in.”

Executive board members said there have always been racial tensions at Kent State and in the community. Many, said Lige, are personal incidents.

Adrian Neal, public relations chair of BUS, said incidents such as these may detract high-schoolers from attending Kent State and add discomfort to the community.

“The discomfort alone is a racial tension,” he said.

Parker said the executive board hopes to speak with President Lester Lefton about these incidents by the end of next week.

Lefton released a statement yesterday on the university’s Web site about the recent discussions regarding race relations on campus

“As I communicated to our university community in an e-mail last week, racist acts are offensive, violate our core values, and will not be tolerated.” he said. “Together we must sustain an environment across our eight campuses in which every person, without exception, can feel welcome and treated with respect”

Parker said she would like the administration to use “more than just words” to address the issue.

“It deserves something more than an e-mail and taking the sign down,” she said.

Specifically, she said she would like to see a push for more diverse programming targeted at all students and the university’ s anti-harassment policy put into action. Also, she said she hoped Lefton would at some point address the whole black community about the issues.

KSU-NAACP President Preston Mitchum said his organization did not participate in the press conference because they wanted to know all the facts first.

Still, he said the organization will take action in response to the recent events.

Contact minority affairs reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].