Local News

UNC System hate-crimes panel to hold public forum

Posted January 9, 2009 1:42 p.m. EST
Updated January 9, 2009 3:41 p.m. EST

— A University of North Carolina System panel looking into whether the 16-campus system should adopt a policy covering possible hate crimes will hold a public forum next week.

UNC President Erskine Bowles appointed the UNC Study Commission to Review Student Codes of Conduct as They Relate to Hate Crimes. It includes students, staff and faculty from 10 UNC campuses

Bowles formed the commission after four North Carolina State University students spray-painted racist graffiti on campus in November the night that Barack Obama won the presidential election.

The students painted the graffiti on the walls of the school's "Free Expression Tunnel." Two of the messages said: "Let's shoot that (N-word) in the head" and "Hang Obama by a noose."

Officials with the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called for the students to be expelled, but officials said they had no grounds to do that.

The forum will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 15 in the board room of the Spangler Center, 910 Raleigh Road, in Chapel Hill. People and organizations will have the opportunity to share their concerns and perspectives about student conduct and hate crimes.

The commission asked people who want to attend to pre-register by e-mailing their name, organization, address, phone number and e-mail address to commission Chairman Harold Martin at study_commission@northcarolina.edu. Those unable to attend the forum can send their comments to the commission at the same e-mail address.

The panel, which also is examining whether to require all new UNC student to attend a diversity orientation, is expected to give Bowles its recommendations by the end of March.