IRVINE (CBS/AP) — University of California Irvine officials this week pledged to work on race relations after a black student found a hand-scrawled note calling her a slave in her backpack.
KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore reports the note that told the girl to “go back 2 Africa” further strained relations on campus following an Asian fraternity’s offensive Internet video of a student dancing in blackface.
Lambda Theta Delta apologized and accepted a 16-month university suspension for the April incident, which wasn’t connected to the note.
The incidents run contrary to the values of diversity promoted on campus, Vice Chancellor Thomas Parham said.
The student who received the note told campus investigators she discovered it in her backpack while studying at a campus library Tuesday night, Parham said. She briefly left her backpack unattended to use the bathroom and discovered the note after she returned, but it’s unclear when it was put in her bag.
“We are doing our best to wrap our arms around the student to make sure she feels safe and secure,” Parham said.
Campus officials learned of the incident after the victim’s mother gave an interview to a San Diego television station, and then contacted the student.
“I hurt for my daughter because I feel like we should be past this and there’s no justification for them to be mean and be like this,” Stephanie Lyons told ABC 10 News.
Lyons said her daughter, Charity, is a member of the track team and the Dean’s List, and attends UCI on an academic scholarship.
UC Irvine didn’t confirm the student’s name, citing privacy concerns.
Black student leaders are calling for UC Irvine to strengthen campus cultural awareness initiatives and make African American studies a full-fledged academic department.
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