Local News

Vandals Deface Black History Month Posters At ECU

Posted March 4, 2004 5:19 a.m. EST

— East Carolina University is trying to keep racial tension in check after someone drew nooses on several black history month posters.

The posters were on a bulletin board in Slay Residence Hall. Black students make up 14.5 percent of the student body at East Carolina. Despite that, a lot of those students said they usually feel comfortable on campus.

"I feel very welcome. I haven't experienced racism of any kind directly," junior Charity Meadows said. "I was disappointed that people would actually do something like this when we're trying to represent a positive influence in our black community."

Slay Hall is trying to find the person behind the stunt. Resident advisor Olisa Uzoewulu said it has made him think twice about the people in his dorm.

"Before Friday, I was fine with the guys. I said, 'Hey, how are you doing?'" Uzoewulu said. "Now when I do say hey, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking, 'Could this be the guy who drew the nooses on my pictures."

Many of the students at East Carolina are not reacting to the incident in an angry way.

"We're not trying to cause a riot. [We're] not trying to cause a ruckus," Uzoewulu said.

They are trying to educate their fellow students through discussions on diversity.

"If you want to show ignorance, I'm going to be here to educate you. That's my positive role on this campus," Meadows said.

"We talked about how we could help other people understand [such as] workshops and forums," said Lathan Turner, assistant vice-chair of student life.

The stunt is a violation of East Carolina University's code of conduct for students. If the university finds out a student is behind it, that student could be forced to perform community service and participate in diversity workshops.

A noose is also at the

center of a controversy

in the state Department of Transportation. Black workers complained about a noose that was hung in a workshop by a co-worker. They have rallied and filed lawsuits several times over the past year.

Wake County's district attorney said the noose is not a hate crime, but an administrative issue for the DOT.