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Denison Students Rally Over Race Issue


About 150 students gathered at Denison University Thursday to continue a discussion of race relations as university officials asked students to help identify whoever put a printed swastika under the dorm room door of a black student.

The gathering came one day after a campuswide forum that drew 2,000 students, faculty and staff extended into the evening because so many students at the liberal arts university wanted to speak. The event had been scheduled to last two hours.

The discussion flared anew on Thursday when a student revealed that the piece of paper with a swastika and the words, “Stop causing trouble,” had been slipped under his door.

“This and similar acts which are designed to threaten, intimidate or harass any member of our community cannot and will not be tolerated,” President Dale Knobel said in a statement.

The student, LaForce Baker, who lives in Shorney Hall, said he didn’t mention what happened at first because he wanted the forum to be about race issues, not the swastika.

Spokesman Jack Hire said the discussion of diversity and discrimination began when some students said they were offended by a poster for a campus singing group’s Halloween concert that showed a noose and the phrase “looking for a place to hang?”

Some students have said the poster was indicative of commonplace racial slurs and phrases demeaning to homosexuals, and urged the university to put greater emphasis on diversity as part of freshman orientation.

Black students comprise fewer than 7 percent of student enrollment.

Granville is about 25 miles east of Columbus.

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