Second racial incident at UC Irvine roils campus

The UC Irvine campus.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

A second racial incident in less than a month is roiling the UC Irvine campus.

Police said Friday that someone put a note in a black student’s backpack that read, “Go back 2 Africa slave.” The female student discovered the note while she was in the science library Tuesday, UCI spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon said.

UCI police Sgt. Mark Arnold called the note a “hate incident.”


“If it’s a criminal matter then it would go to the courts,” he said. “If it were an internal discipline issue the university would handle that.”

The campus, which is 2.6% African American, garnered nationwide attention a few weeks ago involving a fraternity’s black-face video. Members of the Black Student Union called it an example of racial insensitivity that they say is common at UCI.

Police say they are unaware of any connection between the note and the fraternity YouTube video that was blasted for racial insensitivity two weeks ago.

The parody music video featured a member of the Asian fraternity Lambda Theta Delta wearing black face.

“To say whether these two things are connected is not something I’m prepared to do,” Lawhon said.

The fraternity has since apologized and volunteered to suspend itself.

Police took a report on that incident as well, Arnold said.

It was quickly turned over to the university, which is conducting a disciplinary investigation.

There is no suspect associated with the “slave” note, Arnold said.

If police identify a suspect, UCI’s administration will conduct its own investigation, Lawhon said.

“There could be disciplinary action taken at that point,” she said.

Student affairs has offered resources to the student targeted by the note, Lawhon said, and extra racial sensitivity programs were conducted after the black-face incident.

The university will continue its standard diversity training and programs, she said.

“We have ongoing programs that are designed to teach students to value each other’s cultures and differences,” Lawhon said. “We’re certainly continuing those.”


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