Purdue University police investigating possible hate crime following race equality march

Racial slur, hanged stick figure drawn on sign

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Police at Purdue University are investigating a possible hate crime that happened on the West Lafayette campus Tuesday morning.

Someone wrote a racial slur and drew a picture depicting a stick figure body hanging from a tree on a placard in front of Hovde Hall.

The placard was left in front of the building Monday by a group marching on campus to promote racial equality.

The march was prompted by another suspected hate crime that happened on campus last week. A hateful phrase was found written on a mirror at the school's Black Cultural Center, but it turned out to be a misunderstanding.

A professor teaching a race relations seminar said the written phrase was mistakenly left on the mirror after it bled through a large sticky note during a class activity.

Police said Tuesday's incident is being investigated as a hate crime because the defacement of the sign was apparently motivated by racial bias.

Dean of Students Danita Brown said her office is investigating the action as a violation of the student code of conduct.

"If a student is involved, he or she will go through the university disciplinary process and could face expulsion if found responsible," Brown said.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said bigotry and hate will not be tolerated on campus.

"There is no place at Purdue for those who act from hatred," Daniels said. "If you recognize yourself in this last sentence, you are not welcome at Purdue."

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Purdue Police Department at 765-494-8221 or its anonymous tip line at 765-496-3784.

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