In February 2010, a student at the University of California, San Diego, left a noose dangling from a bookcase in the school library. Although the noose was directed at no individual student, the obvious racial overtones of this symbol of the Southern lynch mob provoked predictable outrage.

In protest, students occupied the chancellor's office. A campus teach-in on tolerance was held.  Black students publicly expressed their indignation, pain, and fear to a sympathetic campus administration. The chancellor issued an uncompromising statement condemning the incident and pledged to eliminate hatred on campus.

Once the racial cauldron bubbled over, a coed came forward and took responsibility for the incident.  She wrote a letter of apology to the school newspaper and said that she never intended to make a racist statement. She had no idea of the historic implications of the noose.  She herself was a member of a minority group.

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