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Student apologizes for UC San Diego noose incident, claims no racist intent

The UC San Diego student reportedly responsible for last week’s controversial noose episode issued a public, but anonymous, apology Monday and said she'd had no racist intent when she hung the rope from a bookcase in the campus' main library. The discovery of the noose set off angry protests at a school already tense from racially charged episodes and triggered a round of condemnations from UC leaders and even the governor.

In a letter published Monday on the front page of the campus' student newspaper, the Guardian, the student wrote that "this was not an act of racism" and contended that it was a "stupid mistake." She said it was the result of fooling around and had nothing to do with seeking to intimidate black students with a symbol of lynching.

"I know what I did was offensive -- regardless of my intentions -- I am just trying to say I’m sorry. As a minority student who sympathizes with the students that have been affected by the recent issues on campus, I am distraught to know that I have unintentionally added to their pain," wrote the student, who was suspended Friday and remains under investigation by campus police for a possible hate crime.

The letter is signed "by Anonymous UCSD Student" and offers no clues to her identity or ethnicity. A note at the end of the letter states that the newspaper had verified the author’s authenticity. Sari Thayer, the Guardian’s Web editor, said in a telephone interview that the woman had approached the paper and asked to publish the letter and that "a reliable source" had confirmed it.   

In the letter, the woman said she and friends had been playing with a rope, jumping with it, making a lasso and then a noose early last week. She then carried it to the library, where she was studying, and strung it over a desk there Tuesday and forgot about it. Its discovery Thursday night caused a firestorm on campus, where racial tensions were high after a Jan. 15 off-campus party mocked Black History Month and a derogatory term for blacks was used on a student television show.

When she realized the controversial noose was her responsibility, "I felt so ashamed and embarrassed, and the first thing I did was call the campus police and confess," she wrote. She said her motivation in publishing the letter was "to hopefully put a little bit of faith back into the UCSD campus by clarifying that it was not an act of racism."

A campus spokesperson said campus police are continuing to investigate the incident and are consulting about it with the San Diego County district attorney's office and the U.S. attorney's office.  The student remains suspended while the investigation continues, the spokesperson said.

-- Larry Gordon

Comments () | Archives (70)

the rope, in the library, --------- IT MUST BE COL. MUSTARD!

Outrageous, and she claims that there was not racism intended. Right!

I encourage those who do not not understand the symbolic nature of the noose and of lynching, to educate your minds and read a history book. Howard Zinn, John Hope Franklin, Malcolm X, Nell Irwin Painter, etc....are a couple of historians that come to mind.

To those who say this was not a racist act, take the silver-spoons out of your mouths~ your ignorance is simply not acceptable today! You are still colonized with your thinking and this is why many problems still persist today. To say this was not a racist act is disgusting....

The notion of race, as a social construct, has existed in our society since the institution of slavery...the act of racism is the extension of white supremacy, which is founded on race, as social construct.

Racism is racism, no matter what color you are. While I think the noose incident was wrong and completely insensitive, it is protected by freedom of speech. UCSD is not a bastion of white Americans either. The school is over 50% Asian-American. Thus blacks are not the only minority at the school, pretty much everyone is. Keep this in mind when you hear what the protesters demanded from the administration.

All I need to do is put myself in the skin of a black person for five seconds, with all that history, and look up to see a noose hanging from above my head.

Yeah, it was racist. Doesn't matter when the last lynching was - it's the CONTEXT in which that noose was hung. It wasn't for friggen Halloween.

I wouldn't have known what race she was, and would have been too terrified to have cared, all I'd see is that thing hanging above my head and wondering if something worse was going to happen.

As a Jew I feel the same way when I see a swatstika - so I'm pretty sure I know how black people feel when they see something like *that*. That's their swastika.

Whites just aren't comfortable unless they are making people of color feel "less than." When whites feel down and/or insecure they tie nooses and hang them to make blacks feels uncomfortable. She should at least have a misdemeanor or felony (terrorism) for this cruel act so that this mean-spirited culprit may have this on her record; she'll undoubtably do something in the future where she hurts others and this "red flag" should not be ignored.

I can't believe how naive you "commenters" are. The only reason this chick said she was of another "minority" was to throw everyone off her track. I'm convinced this person is white and is further trying to wedge strife between minority groups while she sits back and watches everyone try to figue out what "race" this individual was. Wake-up everybody!!!!!!

Oh wow, a MINORITY left the noose. I didn't see that coming! Just like the last 20 news headlines about racist symbols turning out to be hoaxes perpetrated by the "victim" to get attention.

The laws against the public display of a noose are relatively new to the CA state law books. In fact, it's only been a law since 2007. Was it passed because of a sudden, state-wide surge of sympathy (or political correctness) in recognizing the painful history of lynchings and antiblack racism? No. It was not.

The reason why hanging a noose in public is an offense punishable by up to a year in jail is because people objected to images of Sarah Palin being hung in effigy in West Hollywood two years ago. So I guess the lesson is that it's a somewhat forgivable offense to mock and humiliate black college students by hanging nooses around their campus, but if you mock and humiliate a white lady with a Messiah complex, then CA will throw the book at you. The double standard lives on.

Sure, and I made a swastika with a coat hangar and accidentally left it at McDonalds.

A noose has killed far too many in our dark history and only recently the African American's. Racial intentions are only the tip of the iceberg. I am quite sure the majority of UCSD students are unaware of the sweeping implications of such an act. Stupid, unacceptable, and wrong, but not warranted for charges under any scrutiny. A mistake is a mistake, and the acceptance of this mistake is a demonstration of the quality of UCSD students especially in such trying times.

Maybe it's time for the state of California to shut down all their public universities indefinitely until it gets its budget problems straightened out. Then when the schools re-open, the students will show more gratitude, stop this incessant drama, and get back to academics. "Activism" ain't gonna get you a job in this economy.

The students who are complaining about this noose are nothing but a bunch of drama queens desperately seeking a hobby. Grow up!

To everyone who took offense I kindly say to you shut up! Instead of crying and moaning over a piece of rope why not go out and try to fix some of these injustices you speak of? Why not go out and help some black community that is in desperate need. Try to fight real racism that exists out there. If I want to tie a noose then I damn well will. It seems to me those students were trying to make themselves out to be victims. Grabbing for attention. Go back to class and learn like you're suppose to be doing.

Musings: If a Hindu student in India sketched a swastika, with backwards arms, it would be a millennia-old Hindu sun sign, later stolen (and flipped over) by Hitler. If an american with fascist sympathies sketches one on his book bag, it's not the same. (Context matters.) You can't "make" a gun by accident. You can't lay out--as one person suggested--a glove and a bloody knife and a glass of O.J. without a lot of directed intentionality and probable malice. You can, actually, tie something noose-like more or less in passing. It's a rope with a knot and a loop. It's used in many cultures as a strap to carry books, for example. That's not common in the U.S. (not anymore, though you can see it in some old Mark Twain illustrations) but certainly in use in the third world. (Personal experiences matter.) Getting upset at something that's likely to be an intentional threat is reasonable. Staying angry, if the intention turns out to be innocent, is not reasonable. (The ability to recognize context beyond one's own experience matters.)

Can I demand an ethno-political activist free zone on campus?

When you are not African American you cannot Comprehend what the noose mean. LA rider it is not the race card for African Americans on this issue. The student knows what a noose means. It is not a laughing matter as some of you have said. All of you know the history of slavery, and that is why it matters. Since your ancestors were not in slavery it is a laughing matter to ALL of you. It is not a race a card just a fact. When your ancestors are not Western Europe you have a problem.

momwith2, the Compton Cookout was held off campus. No one needed permission from the campus to do so.

This is a great example of not questioning what you read. The student that wrote that letter to the newspaper does not have her identity confirmed, and quite frankly the story makes no sense. Anyone could have fabricated that story.

UCSD is a state of emergency and people that continue to not understand the detrimental effects this has on our campus need to step back and learn to empathize with others. As a Chicana at UCSD, it's time for the community to come together and battle hate as a whole not say it is not important because quite frankly it is a big deal. Most recently KKK style garment was found on the statue outside Geisel at approximately 11pm yesterday.

Join the movement for bettering the campus climate.

This noose incident contributed to an atmosphere of anti-white blame and hatred. As a 'minority', the student is sorry for any pain other minorities felt, but she's not sorry for the harm done to white students by the politically correct (PC) mob. Naturally, since the perpetrator was black, Eric Holder and the rest of the hypocritical PC crowd will not regard it as a "hate" crime. Maybe there should be white student unions and other white organizations to look out for the rights of whites and vigorously defend them against abuse and defamation.

I doubt her intent was to imtimidate black people. Im sure it was to cause more anti-white hysteria in the campus. The signal it sends is not - "black people watch out!", but instead it is "See? Told you them white people are bad news, they even hang nooses in the library, they hate ALL minorities just that much!".

Of course no article brings up that other possibility. Its all one-sided...Its either - The noose was put up by a white person to show hate to Black people, OR - that a "minority" hung it up by accident without knowing its meaning. Ooops! Time to move this story to page 13 in the papers! Nothing to see here since it wasnt a white person doing it!

But oh wait, theres also the chance she did it to make white people look bad, and fan the flames of anger at white people even more. Thats racism all the same, just against European-Americans [white people]. Wont hear a peep about that though, its not politically correct - Only white people can be racist in this society according to the powers that be [the media namely].

Also the word "minority" is devious, especially in this case...It pits anyone who is not of European descent against those of European descent [white]. And yet, UC Berkeley is a Asian majority campus. Whites are minorities there to, just as blacks are. And whites are also a minority in the entire state of California. So the 'minority' term is useless here other than pitting non-whites [as a block] against white people.

The only people who are minorities at UC are anyone who is not Asian. Including European-Americans [btw if were going to say Asian-American and African-American, why not say European-American for white people].

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