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UC San Diego police investigate noose in stairwell

July 28, 2010 |  4:34 pm

UC San Diego police are investigating an incident in which a rope resembling a noose was found suspended in a campus stairwell.

The thin piece of rope, crudely fashioned into a loop, was found July 21 in a stairwell in Mandeville Hall, an auditorium that hosts recitals and other performing arts.

So far, police have no leads on who might have created the noose and are seeking help identifying witnesses.

It is the latest incident with racial overtones to emerge on the campus in recent months. Another dangling noose was found in a campus library in February, drawing condemnation and sparking a protest rally attended by hundreds of students. A student later admitted to and apologized for hanging the rope and was suspended.

Racial tensions also were heightened earlier this year by an off-campus party, termed a “Compton Cookout,” that mocked Black History Month. That incident also set off protests and drew national attention to the campus, where African American students comprise fewer than 2% of undergraduates.

For many African Americans, the noose has long been a symbol of oppression and lynchings. Hanging a noose with intent to terrorize is a misdemeanor under state law and can bring up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

The most recent incident has drawn little attention, said campus spokeswoman Judy Piercey. About 6,600 students are attending summer classes in UC San Diego’s extension program.

-- Carla Rivera