Local News

NCSU Senate to vote on modifed bill as graffiti response

Posted November 19, 2008 5:29 a.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2008 11:20 a.m. EST

— Racist graffiti found two weeks ago on North Carolina State University’s campus will be the only thing on the agenda Wednesday night when student leaders meet.

A bill in the school's Student Senate urges the university to punish the students who painted it to the fullest extent that school policies allow.  The Student Senate plans to meet at 7:30 p.m. to vote on the issue.

The bill to be considered Wednesday night was amended from its original form. In the draft presented last week, expulsion was included in the suggested punishments. That language has been removed from the final version. Instead, the bill would require that offenders undergo diversity education and that the university revisit rules on student conduct to specifically address actions or words that "incite violence or otherwise create a hostile campus environment toward individuals or University protected groups."

The meeting comes one day after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said it's not satisfied with State's response to the graffiti.

The NAACP on Tuesday decried what it labeled a "tepid response" by North Carolina State University officials to racist messages about President-elect Barack Obama that were spray-painted in the campuses "Free Expression Tunnel."

While some students painted pro-Obama messages in N.C. State's 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."

State NAACP President William Barber met with N.C. State Chancellor James Oblinger last Wednesday and called for the four students who admitted to painting the racist messages to be expelled. The NAACP also wants a UNC systemwide policy on hate speech and diversity training for students.

The NAACP also wants to meet with Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby to discuss why hate-crime charges weren't filed against the four students. The organization also may lobby state lawmakers to amend hate-crime statutes so similar acts in the future could result in criminal charges, officials said.

The group also plans to lobby Congress to strengthen enforcement of federal laws that could cut funding to universities that don't crack down on hate crimes, officials said.