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Police investigate hood found on UC San Diego statue

March 2, 2010 |  3:49 pm

A Ku Klux Klan-like hood was fashioned from a pillowcase and placed on a statue outside UC San Diego’s main library, in what may be another racially provocative incident at the beach-side campus, officials said Tuesday.

University police say they are investigating the matter as a possible hate crime and examining the hood for fingerprints and even DNA analysis.

The hood, with a hand-drawn cross inside a circle, was found about 11 p.m. Monday on the statue of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as the children’s book author Dr. Seuss, after whom the library is named. A rose was inserted into the statue’s fingers.

The incident occurred on the eve of Geisel's birthday Tuesday. He was a UC San Diego benefactor who died in 1991 at age 87.  However, plans for an annual campus celebration of his birthday had been cancelled because of the recent tumult and protests regarding racially charged incidents and the low enrollment of black students.

A campus spokesperson said no witnesses have come forward concerning the hood and no message of responsibility has been received. Even if the hood was intended as a prank, whoever placed it will be punished to the full extent of the campus' student code and other laws, officials said.

"We will not tolerate these despicable actions," UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox said in a statement released Tuesday.

The campus has been tense since a Feb. 15 off-campus party mocked Black History Month and, a few days later, a racial epithet was used on a student television show. Last week, a noose was discovered hanging from a Geisel library bookcase and a student, not publicly identified, has confessed to placing it there. She has said she had no racial motivation.

-- Larry Gordon

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