Adminstrator: Instances of hateful response to election reported on campus

Ashleigh Cleveland and her roommate stayed up until 1:30 a.m. Wednesday working on a collage to celebrate President-elect Barack Obama’s victory.

It adorned their door in Foster Hall for less than 30 minutes.

“I went to take a shower, and I came back a little after 2 a.m.,” the freshman premajor said. “They had already ripped stuff and left it on the floor.”

Cleveland said her roommate had heard someone laughing outside their room, but the person ran off before she could identify the perpetrator.

“When we first started making the posters I was thinking to myself, ‘This might get torn down. We probably shouldn’t even waste our time,'” Cleveland said. “I had a feeling that something was going to go wrong. I didn’t think that it would happen so sudden.”

Cleveland said she’s also seen “F— Obama” and “If you can read this, you’re too smart to vote for Obama” written on the message boards on people’s doors in the days since the election.

The incident with the collage is only one of the events that prompted Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Don Mills to send a campuswide e-mail reminding students that racist and harassing language and actions will not be tolerated by the university.

“We have had some isolated incidents where groups of white students have talked about the election in language to describe Obama that is racist,” Mills said. “In some cases they have appeared to purposefully raise their voices so that black students who were nearby would hear them.”

Any student who participated in such behavior would be called in to discuss the violation of campus policy, then referred to the Campus Life office, he said.

Campus Life referred questions to Mills.

“I just wanted to get this out there and remind people at this point so that we didn’t get to a situation like they had at Baylor,” Mills said. “Frankly, I don’t think TCU students would behave like that anyway, but I think that it’s always good to be reminded of what we as an institution stand for.”

According to The Lariat, the Baylor University student newspaper, students found a clothesline rope knotted to look like a noose hanging from a tree outside a building on campus. Students also burned Obama memorabilia in an on-campus fire pit after the election, The Lariat reported.

“We strongly denounce what has happened here on our campus, especially in the light of an historic moment,” said Lori Fogleman, Baylor’s director of media communications.

Mills said he doesn’t think the events that occurred at Baylor would ever happen at TCU. But other election-related incidents were reported in Texas.

At the University of Texas at Austin, backup center Buck Burnette was dismissed from the football team after posting an offensive message regarding Obama on his Facebook profile, the Austin-American Statesman reported.

On Wednesday in Kilgore, police said they found racially charged graffiti with references to the election spray-painted on a high school gymnasium wall and at a skate park.

Senior psychology major Latrice Ponton said she has heard several people make derogatory remarks about the president-elect.

“Somebody saying something like, ‘Barack Obama is president now, why doesn’t everyone go on welfare?'” Ponton said. “Now, that’s a really dumb comment because it doesn’t even make sense.”

Ponton said she attributed the racist comments to ignorance.

Cleveland said she blames immaturity.

“We’re friends with a lot of the people on the floor,” Cleveland said. “And then they come by and do something to your door like that. It’s really sad that people are so childish.”

Information from UWire Services was used in this report.