Colorado University Police Investigating
Racist Hate Letter Sent to Student Leader
University of Colorado, which has recently been hit with a string of racially tinged incidents, is investigating a death threat sent to a student leader via e-mail.
Mebraht Gebre-Michael, a Black student elected as one of three tri-executives that lead student government, says she received the
e-mail in November from a CU address.
It says: “Why don’t you and all of your Black … friends disappear off our campus. You guys don’t belong … you will die if you run for student government again. I don’t make empty threats…”
Gebre-Michael says she decided to make the information public to help educate the community.
“The climate on campus is just becoming unbearable for students of color; it’s ridiculous,” she says. “Students of color have to constantly watch their backs.”
Interim Chancellor Phil Distefano in a statement said he was extremely disturbed to learn of the racist message.
“Such hate-filled words do not reflect the values of this campus community,” he wrote. “When any member is attacked with such a vicious message, we all are attacked.”
The university has launched an investigation into the incident.
Minority students make up fewer than 15 percent of CU’s more than 29,000 students. Six percent of students this fall were listed as Hispanic or Latino, 6 percent were Asian, fewer than 2 percent, or 457, were Black and just 226 were American Indian.
Racial problems at the school began cropping up in February, during the Big 12 Conference on Black Student Affairs. Thousands of minority visitors on campus reported racist remarks, staring and poor service at an area restaurant.
In June, a Black student was attacked near campus after a van pulled up and a man began shouting racial slurs. Racist flyers were found in campus buildings days after Gebre-Michael received the e-mail.
In response, more than 500 students held a rally outside one of the campus’ administration buildings. The students, and some faculty members, urged CU administrators to do more to diversify the campus, such as offering $5 million in extra scholarships for minorities and creating programs geared towards diversity.
— Associated Press
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