UNC system discusses hate crimes

March 10, 2009 8:16:34 PM PDT
Changes are on the way for all North Carolina public universities.A commission studying hate crime on university campuses released its final recommendations Tuesday night. Their recommendations will require all campuses in the UNC System to on the same page when it comes to student conduct.

It stems from an incident on the NC State's campus last November. After the Presidential election, four students spray-painted racist graffiti in the free expression tunnel.

The commission tasked to see if more should be done found when it comes hate crimes and hate speech on campus, each school in the UNC System has different codes of conduct. Some policies are not in line with state and federal laws.

"This has not been a discussion about trying to legislate freedom of speech," Study Commission Chair Harold Martin said. "There's a very clear statement in our recommendation to the President that suggests very clearly valuing freedom of speech and protecting freedom of speech."

But even with the policies all on the same page, students would still be able say or spray what they want.

"I can't really describe it to anybody else," said NC State student Nathan Weston, who sprays regularly on the Free Express Tunnel. "All I know is that I pull from what's in my heart and put it on a wall."

He says he is appalled by what other students have put on the wall --the ones who painted threats against President Obama and whoever painted "Cancer Rules" over a tribute to the late Coach Kay Yow.

"I would never write anything like that, but you got to think more so, what's in the heart of that person that would write something like that, rather than oh, they're just a bad person," Weston said. "My heart goes out to them more so than somebody who does something great here."

Some students wanted the Obama spray painters expelled; instead they apologized, got diversity training and community service.

One of things the commission is still debating is whether diversity education should be mandatory for incoming students. Every student that spoke to Eyewitness News says the training wouldn't matter, because you can't control how people feel and there's obviously a wide range of feelings and emotions on each campus.

The recommendations will go to the UNC System President at the end of the month.


Load Comments