Updated 10/03/2012 07:44 AM
Student outcry against potential ‘hate crimes’ at UT
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Students at the University of Texas are calling on police and school officials to address what the students call hate crimes in the West Campus neighborhood.
Four African-American students have reported that someone threw bleach-filled balloons at them because they are black.
Police said they received such reports from four individuals in the last 24 hours. One incident dated back to June of this year.
"They can't sit here and be like everything is fine, now we have stats, through APD, that there is still some racial tension on the campus, and now, they have to do something about it," former UT Student Chas Moore said.
Students said when they first tried to report the incidents to university police they were turned away. UTPD says because the attacks happened in the West Campus neighborhood, not actually on the UT campus, they fall under the jurisdiction of Austin police. Now, UTPD and APD are both investigating.
"The students are attacked in West Campus with bleach balloons, they go out to get help from APD and UTPD, the first few times, nothing happens,” Moore said. “Then, all of a sudden, when we start marching and organizing now everybody wants to do something, so it is just like, ‘Why the delayed reaction?’"
University Police say it's not a sign of a racial problem on campus.\
"There is always going to be individual type cases, I don't think we have huge biases on campus no, because I think there would be more issues," UT Chief of Police Robert Dahlstrom said.
During a during a media conference Tuesday, a UTPD representative said they were made aware of the issue by a concerned person who saw Facebook posts about the attacks.
"We're a community of 70,000 people, and with a community of 70,000 people you are going to have incidents that happen, and we have to work through each one of these and try to make sure the victims get what they deserve, and try to work through if we have suspects, and if there are charges to be filed, file them,” Dahlstrom said.
Tuesday evening, students marched at the Martin Luther King Jr. statue on campus to bring attention to the issue.