Local News

NAACP calls for 'racist graffiti' students to be expelled

Posted November 12, 2008 11:26 a.m. EST
Updated November 27, 2012 2:23 p.m. EST

— The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has called on North Carolina State University to expel four students who spray painted racist messages about President-elect Obama.

N.C. State Chancellor James Oblinger met with State NAACP President Rev. William Barber for about 90 minutes Wednesday morning to talk about racist graffiti that was found on campus the day after the presidential election.

Oblinger refused to take questions from reporters after the closed-door meeting. He made a brief statement: "Both sides have a good understanding of each other's perspective and we agreed to move forward."

Barber has asked Oblinger to respond, in writing, within 48 hours with an official response from the university.

The NAACP is pushing for N.C. State, and other public universities across the state, to implement a system-wide policy on hate speech and to hold diversity training for students.

While some students painted pro-Obama messages in N.C. State's "Free Expression Tunnel" on the night of Nov. 4, racist graffiti was there early Nov. 5, campus police said.

Two of the messages said: "Let's shoot that (N-word) in the head" and "Hang Obama by a noose."

"Anybody who would write this kind of language and take the time to write it is disturbed, is quite sick in the mind," Barber said. "We don't want to see any kind of Virginia Tech issue happen right here on this campus. It's wrong, it's ugly, it's vile and it's not protected by freedom of speech."

Four students have come forward and admitted to spray-painting the racist messages. The school has not released their names. Since the students were not charged with a crime, the NAACP wants the university to take action.

N.C. State's Student Senate planned to meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday to discuss passing the "Free Expression Tunnel Hate Crime Act."

The graffiti prompted about 500 students to gather last week for a unity rally at the campus brickyard. Barber said they plan to hold another rally sometime next week.

The racist graffiti was immediately painted over, but strong emotions remain over the incident.

"It was something very inappropriate, and I don't think it represents the campus at all,” student Awma Rinchhuan said Tuesday.

“Many students are afraid at this point and time, but I feel like they're more than willing to work towards a solution,” student Geoffrey Hunter said.

The tunnel is a place where students are encouraged to speak their minds, and there is some sentiment that the incident is getting more attention than it deserves.