Obama effigy found hanging from noose in tree near Rose St.

A likeness of Barack Obama was found hanging from a noose in a campus tree Wednesday.

UK Police received a report at 7:45 a.m. that the Democratic presidential candidate’s likeness was hanging from a tree between Parking Structure #2 and the Mining and Mineral Resources Building near the W. T. Young Library walkway. At 8:25 a.m., members of UK’s physical plant division cut the effigy down using a crane, said UK spokeswoman Kathy Johnson.

No suspects have been identified yet, but UK Police are working with federal authorities on the case, Johnson said. Secret Service was called as part of standard protocol, she said.

The figure wore khaki pants and a blue sports coat, said hospitality management junior A.J. Mertz, who saw the effigy when it was hanging. The figure also wore a mask to resemble a black man, Mertz said. Johnson confirmed it was a Barack Obama mask.

Mertz said he saw the life-size figure dangling from a tree and thought it was a person. Startled, Mertz did not want to walk closer, but as he moved toward the tree he saw it was not a real person.

Mertz said he did not want to even take a picture of the effigy because he “didn’t want anyone to see it that didn’t have to.”

“I was disgusted and hurt someone would deface the university and put something up of this magnitude,” he said.

If someone were to be arrested in connection with the hanging figure, he or she would be charged with harassment with a hate bias, a misdemeanor charge, Johnson said. Whether or not federal charges would be pressed is in the hands of federal authorities, she said.

UK Police declined to comment on the case, referring all calls to UK Public Relations.
If the person committing the crime were a student, whether they would be punished would depend on the circumstances, said Tony Blanton, associate dean of students. Because almost no circumstances of the Obama effigy are known, Blanton said he could not comment specifically on the case.

As a rule, for the university to impose any punishment from a warning to expulsion, UK has to prove the student was provoking or threatening another student. If the effigy was making a political statement, it would be covered because of First Amendment rights, he said.

“We don’t have the right not to be offended,” Blanton said. “We have the right not to be harassed, not to be intimidated.”

Communications and psychology sophomore Khai Johannes said he was not surprised by the effigy. Some people aren’t open to change, he said, a problem that will only grow closer to the election. An Obama win would make it worse, he said.

“It’s funny in my opinion because the same person who did that is probably a guy sitting in the football stands cheering for black football players,” he said. “But when someone tries to take a leadership role, watch out.”

UK is not the first place to have a symbol against Obama or other contenders in the 2008 presidential race.
A similar incident occurred two weeks ago when a man, Mike Lunsford, hung an Obama effigy in his yard in Fairfield, Ohio, about 100 miles north of Lexington.

A life-size representation of Sarah Palin hanging from the front of a West Hollywood man’s house has caused controversy as well. The man, Chad Michael Morrisette, had defended the statue’s presence, citing First Amendment rights.

At George Fox University, a small Christian college near Portland, Ore., an Obama effigy was cut down on Sept. 23.

Two Arkansas men were arrested this week in connection with a plot to kill Obama as well as shoot or decapitate 88 black people. Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of Helena-West Helena, Ark., planned on killing 88 because each word of “Heil Hitler” begins with H, the eighth letter in the alphabet, police said.

The effigy’s message is especially strong in southern states such as Kentucky because of lynching’s tie to the region’s past, said UK political science professor Christopher Rice. The practice was used not just to kill people but also to scare black people who witnessed the suffering.

The noose, a symbol of lynching, and Obama being black come together to create a message with a clear meaning, Rice said.

“Would you see (2004 Democratic nominee) John Kerry in effigy? No, you would not,” he said. “Senator Obama is African-American, and it provokes this racially-charged thinking. ‘Don’t vote for so-and-so because he is black.’”

How effective such a strategy is depends on whom the effigy’s creators were trying to access, Rice said.

“To me that’s unclear,” he said. “The University of Kentucky isn’t going to be an environment that’s going to be sympathetic to that.”

Human nutrition freshman Lauren Brinkman had not heard about the effigy, but said the representation was

“just too much.” Brinkman, who said she likes neither Obama nor Republican opponent John McCain, said what wins people is a good argument, not an ugly symbol.

“No one’s going to take you seriously if you do something like that,” she said.

UK Police are requesting anyone with information call the department at (859) 257-1616.
If you have photos of or information about the effigy, please e-mail editor@kykernel.com or call (859) 257-1915.

News report from Fairfield, Ohio:

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Mandy says:

Kathy, you might want to read my earlier comment to learn a little about the difference between the two effigies.

Kathy says:

While I agree that the effigy was very wrong, everyone had quite a different reaction when it was Governor Palin hanging from a rope. Why would it be a “joke” when she was hung, and a hate crime when it is Obama? Not a lot of difference to me.

Char says:

Blatant ignorance and fear. I feel sorry that the person who did that happens to be so stupid.

Mandy says:

The reason that this symbol of lynching IS a hate crime re: Sen. Obama and NOT toward Gov. Palin is because of the long history of lynching and racism in the U.S.

Let’s agree that it’s disgusting and an expression of hatred to string a figure of ANYONE up in a tree. But ‘hate crime’ does not mean only a crime committed out of hatred. It means a crime with a historic legacy of oppression and hatred. Palin’s people (privileged white women) were not lynched with any regularity in the U.S. history. Perhaps in freak, rare cases, but lynching was not a threat leveraged against white women to keep them ‘in their place.’

That being said, there are many hate crimes against women that persist even today, such as rape, domestic assault, serial killings (which are usually inflicted upon women), etc. that are meant to keep them ‘in their place.’

For a hate crime to be committed toward Palin, it would have to utilize some of these historical women’s oppressions (at the hands of men). While hanging a doll of Palin from a tree is disgusting, it does not attack Palin in the way that women have historically been persecuted and degraded in the U.S. However, there have been other hate crimes against her, for example the blow-up sex doll that was produced and sold soon after she was named vice-presidential candidate.

The Obama effigy does utilize this history of oppression against African-Americans (at the hands of European-Americans) — it activates the entire history of racism and bald violence against African-Americans, which most people on this discussion board seem to either belittle or know nothing about. Institution of higher learning, anyone?

The differing histories and experiences with violence and -isms is why these two ‘expressions’ of disdain, violence, and hatred are not equal in magnitude. The Palin effigy is not a hate crime, while it is an expression of hatred. See the difference?

Last I heard, freedom of speech does not include terroristic threats, incite-to-riot, death threats, or harassment. This figure not only is a threat to Sen. Obama, but it is harassment of every single student of color at the University of Kentucky and serves to — was intended to! — remind them of what happens when people of color gain power.

The incident itself was disgusting; the idiotic white privilege spewed on this discussion board may be even worse.

Peter Simon says:

In the Baemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman, and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then each person in the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, about all the good things the person . . . has done in his lifetime. All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. The tribal ceremony often lasts several days. At the end, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe.
-Alice Walker

wow, Lee, you’ve really hit it right on the head. all those black people that continue to be discriminated against because of the color of their skin are really up to no good, huh? and what about all of those blacks that were thrown in jail and beaten to death because the demanded the right to vote, which is protected by the 15th amendment, and equal accommodation in public facilities, protected by the 14th – what bastards! we’re all being brainwashed into thinking these people were fighting for justice!

seriously, dude – get outta here if that’s what you think. you have no place in the discussion if you just come around trolling about how we’re being brainwashed into believing blacks (and all minorities, for that matter) have had a tougher time than whites in this country. get real.

Alethea says:

1996…the first time someone called me coon, n-word, and other horrendous words to my face. yes, i’m sure several will say that maybe it wasn’t from a UK student….but, the police were from UK….and guess who they arrested first….the black men, who didn’t run, but were disgusted and mad (understandably?), guess who was threatened with resisting arrest when they began to tell the officers they didn’t do anything… but, i’m sure there are excuses for that as well. no questions, just assumptions. in the end, when an international student, white male, told the UK police that it was in fact the other white males…finally, the UK police started to arrest them, but they took off…i was in total shock!

1997…Top 20 Business Plan implemented for UK. one of the major agenda items, increase diversity. initiatives formed to see why black students don’t generally continue here at UK, we usually leave or go into our silo’s…not because we aren’t as intelligent or don’t score highly, but because of the climate…but no one really does anything, but form committees, send out apologies, draft new reports….

2008…super wow??? not really. racism and prejudice coming out from it’s covert nests…but everyone has an excuse pointing to the many reasons that UK doesn’t represent this….lest we forget the actions are here on the UK campus continuously, but some wear the privileged sack and have the privilege of choosing to be ignorant of the racial and prejudicial dynamics on campus. why is it so difficult, because it is institutionalized…that’s the most favored kind because it takes away anyone’s obligation to accept personal responsibility and to do anything substantial….

i cannot imagine the dread I would have seen had I been here in the 80’s, 70’s, 60’s…i’ve only been here 12 years and sit aghast at the many band aids of diversity treatments we apply to UK’s festering lack of diversity. just because programs and committees are developed doesn’t mean they are affective. they aren’t affective until they actually do something…but an institution and the primary representatives thereof have to first really want to do something….

maybe Peggy McIntosh reflects part of the underlying dynamics of perpetuating racism and prejudiceness on UK’s campus. In her paper, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, she stated, “I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my own group.” of course it isn’t UK, it’s everything else that keeps diversity from happening here…but what is everything else?????? right, there isn’t everything else…there’s just UK’s Invisible Knapsack…

Lee says:

Mr. Obama being hung in effigy was just an expression of art, just as Ms. Palin was hung in effigy out in California, and that was how it was explained to the press.

Also the person that hung up Mr. Obama was expressing his Diversity. Diversity is taught in all colleges now days. Some one might call it “Brainwashing”. Colleges teach we should all kiss the black person’s butt today because some of their ancestors were slaves 2 or 3 hundred years ago.

Savannah- a couple of quick things… nice try on trying to insult my reading comprehension skills. but when you should probably try to avoid making such general assumptions when engaged in a debate.

as for the definition of lynching, one reads – “to kill someone, esp. by hanging, for an alleged offense, with or without a trial”. so that would, technically, include the number of whites who were tried and convicted of crimes within the criminal system and then executed – so it isn’t necessarily an unlawful act (albeit a despicable one), although multiple dictionaries vary on this defintion. but still, I’m not quite sure how the numbers your provided don’t prove MY point – blacks were lynched at a significantly higher factor than whites in the South. you’re right that nearly 1300 whites being lynched isn’t insignificant – but it pales in comparison to the 3500 blacks being lynched in the similar time period. you’re trying to make a case that whites were equal victims when the numbers you present show exactly the opposite. and regardless of the actual numbers, you fail to take into consideration the circumstances of most of those lynchings – whites were certainly not lynched by blacks, and blacks were certainly not lynched by whites. regardless of who was being hung, they were being hung under a system of justice that was subjectively determined by the white majority who was, more often than not, content on keeping blacks subservient (even if only subconsciously). and that is what this whole argument is about, even as far as the Obama effigy goes – Sarah Palin has never had a ‘place’ to be kept. She is a white woman of relative privilege who never had to undergo the hardships of women before the 19th amendment. Too bad she doesn’t really believe in the principles of the women who brought us that important change in US history. You don’t have to be 80+ years old to remember segregation and the history of white supremacy – and while misogyny is certainly still a problem in our society, it has never been associated with such large scale terrorism, violence and repressive discrimination. the fact that you fail to see the difference perhaps isn’t indicative of your intelligence, but the fact that the false notion of ‘reverse racism’ perpetuated by privileged whites in this country (I am one) has led you to believe that nothing is really racist without EVERYTHING being racist.

I went on too long. must go now.

Andersen says:

Savannah, it is entirely possible that whoever did this was playing a prank. However, we don’t know who did it and therefore do not know the intent.

Jonathan says:

I can’t say I’m surprised it happened – this is the same campus where the Farmers frat house had a giant confederate flag on display for several weeks. I wonder if the cops connected those dots?

Kimberly says:

It seems like every time someone does or says something extremely offensive, people automatically avoid criticizing what’s wrong by defending “free speech.” What’s especially ridiculous is that this isn’t a free speech issue! The campus trees are not your property from which you can hang your political/bigoted “speech.” It’s not like we’re talking about a newspaper article or a public address here. We’re talking about someone using property that wasn’t his/hers own to intimidate, shock, and offend people. Next, you’re going to say that burning crosses on other people’s lawns is a form of “free speech!”

Sure, we could get into a long debate about why harassment, death threats, or hate speech isn’t/shouldn’t be protected under the first amendment, but why here? Do you actually see “censorship” in the university taking down what is essentially an act of vandalism? Are they censoring students when they remove crass words or pictures from toilet stalls too? No, this is obviously not even close to a free speech issue.

Let’s admit that this completely irrelevant free speech tangent is just a way for you to offer pseudo-intellectual commentary on a story that should simply illicit genuine emotions such as embarrassment, anger, fear, or shock. I appreciate the comments above that responded to what actually happened here.

Savannah says:

Also concerning my comment:

“You can look up the numbers on this, but many years there were near as many whites that were lynched as blacks, as Southern Democrats fought to regain control of their state governments following the end of the military occupation of the south in 1877.”

Using the same source data that the African American Studies Deparment cites in their lynching data, in the years 1884 and 1885 more whites than blacks were lynched by a factor of 3 in 1884 and 1.5 in 1885. Look up the data yourself.

Savannah says:

Taylor – Perhaps it doesnt make sense because you haven’t read it. As for the punishment that scalawags underwent, it was not at all insignificant compared to that which black Americans underwent. According to the African American Studies department at University at Buffalo (http://www.africanamericanstudies.buffalo.edu/ANNOUNCE/vra/lynch/lynchstats.html) in the period from 1882-1968, 1,297 whites were lynched versus 3,446 blacks. While significantly more blacks were lynched than whites, that 1297 is not a small enough number to say that the punishment the white reupublicans suffered at the hands of the Redeemers governments was ‘negligible’. Considering Alabama, 48 whites and 299 blacks were lynched in the above period. The number of whites lynched in Alabama may be small compared to the number of blacks, but it becomes more significant once we consider that blacks up to the time of the great migration, made up 60 percent or greater of the Alabama population. And only a tiny percent of the white population were republicans. So considering this, we can say that white lynchings were not insignifcant. Actually weighing the cost of lynching on the black and white population, would be a topic for a statistical analysis.

Also referring to the lynching of white criminals, I was referring to just that lyncing. Lynching is a punishmen dealt out by a mob without legal sanction. So if a mob goes down to the local jail and grabs the local horse thief and hangs him, this is by definition a lynching. Events like that were not uncommon in the lawlessness of the post war South.

Especially My point is this, considering the fact that white Republicans and blacks were lynched, we should look at both as offensive considering the US deplorable history in this area, and not be quick to call one racist and forget the other. As you point out, the Palin incident was not considered to be a crime because the owner did not seem to be a threat, until we know who did this at UK, how do we know what their intent was? How can we be so quick to rush to judgement? Is it not at all possible that the perp in this incident is no threat just like the perp in the Palin case?

You are quick to condemn racism like everyone should be. I will make a quick definition of what I think racism is: racism is when a person makes assumptions about a person’s character or intent based on their skin color. Its wrong because everyone has the capability to do good or do evil, regardless of their skin color. Racism in essence, is a generalization of a group of people based on skin color.By rushing to judgement about the intentions of the perpetrator in this incident we make the mistake of accusing them falsely of racism and making a generalization. Generalizations (like racism) are very bad and should be avoided. Shouldn’t we wait until all the facts of the case are known until we make that judgement?

Savannah- I’ll go ahead and say that your remarks make little to no sense whatsoever. first of all one can’t ‘disagree’ to do something. one can ‘refuse’ to do something or ‘disagree’ with a sentiment, but one cannot ‘disagree’ to do something as you suggest. the FBI and Secret Service were certainly involved as was pointed out, and the matter was investigated thoroughly because it was apparent who hung the Palin effigy because it was on someone’s private property. after investigating the FBI and Secret Service found that person to be of no threat and not in violation of any laws – particularly not violating any civil rights laws that were established to counter the institutional racism in our country which you deem irrelevant. it most certainly IS relevant in this case – the Palin effigy is an isolated incident of disgust with an individual, whereas there have been a series of Obama effigies being hung. last I checked, no McCain or Biden effigies have been spotted anywhere – at least not on any large scale like this.

as for your comment about scalawags – scalawags were the white Republicans and freedmen who took control of the Reconstruction governments after the Civil War. and while the Redeemer movement countered these individuals and instituted Jim Crow policies, whatever persecution they underwent was negligible compared to the history of lynching blacks that we continue to be forced to live with – especially when something like this happens. there is also a significant difference between the practice of publicly executing convicted criminals by hanging (not that I support it – but getting into an argument over the ethics of capital punishment isn’t necessary here) and the unlawful murder of blacks. you assume them to be one in the same. and actually, the number of lynchings was not racially equal – in fact, as one should expect, blacks were the disproportionate victims of the practice. for example, in Texas from 1885-1942, the victims of lynchings were more than 4x more likely to be black than white. that isn’t “near as many”.

Sarah Palin isn’t a scalawag. and you continue to make the completely fallacious assumption that both the history of Southern lynchings of blacks and institutional racism as well as the currently documented attitudes of Kentuckians (see the H-L poll from last week that showed how many Kentuckians are completely misinformed about Obama and refuse to acknowledge the humanity of blacks) should be disregarded in this situation.

I’ll go ahead and say that my response is probably of equal intelligence to your comment, Savannah – it’s hard to keep your thoughts straight when you’re trying to criticize something that hardly makes common sense.

Savannah says:

Andersen-my facts are straight, but thank you. The homeowner actually disagreed to take the Palin effigy down and according to the FBI this was just a matter of “bad taste” not a crime.

Dave – Whether or not institutionalized racism actually exists is not relevant to this discussion. This discussion is merely to debate whether or not a political figure (who happens to be black) being hung in effigy is racist, and a hate crime automatically, while the same happening to a white politician is not a crime at all. It is very true that many blacks were hang for violating the Jim Crow laws of the post war South. But it is also true that many white people (mostly white republicans, so called scalawags) were too, because they challenged the status quo of the time. Not to mention many other white horse thieves and common criminals. You can look up the numbers on this, but many years there were near as many whites that were lynched as blacks, as Southern Democrats fought to regain control of their state governments following the end of the military occupation of the south in 1877. So it escapes me why we should assume that Obama being hung in effigy is racist, while Sarah Palin being hung is not even a crime. One could argue that it is a crime since Sarah Palin is a white Republican!
A scalawag! Exactly the kind of person who could have been at risk for being lynched in the Jim Crow South.

Andersen says:

Savannah — get your facts straight. The secret service are also investigating the Palin effigy. And as for federal authorities investigating this case, it seems appropriate since Obama has received a number of threats (while Palin has not).

Dave says:

“Why does everyone jump to conclusion that this was a “hate crime?” Seriously. Just because Obama happens to be black?”

Because this nation and Kentucky in-particular has a long history of hanging African Americans who get too “uppity.”

That’s makes a statement that would have otherwise simply been in bad taste into a credible death threat – not unlike the plans of two skinheads one state south of us in Tennessee.

I’m a white male, and from that, I derive a great deal of privilege, even if it’s hard for me to notice it in a given day. I could nervously laugh-off inappropriate public public attacks on myself because in the end, I know that most police officers, judges, lawyers, and legislators look a hell of a lot like me and I have every defense that this society can offer.

Learn about institutionalized racism – really learn about it. It’s hard to imagine what it might be like to be in the minority in a meaningful way – but you need to understand it and the part all of us play in it.

Savannah says:

Was is right to have the Obama effigy hanging? No. Neither was it the Sarah Palin effigy. Why does everyone jump to conclusion that this was a “hate crime?” Seriously. Just because Obama happens to be black? Sarah Palin is white and they aren’t looking into the case in C.A. as a “hate crime” because of the color of her skin. And they are calling for federal authorities? Give me a break.

CA says:

Sure it’s free speech, and sure your campus community is free to allow it. But — and I realize this could be absolutely shocking — you should know that your school’s reaction to this determines whether anyone watching from the outside concludes your school is A) entirely full of dumb hicks or B) only partially full of dumb hicks. Choice is yours, really.

Andersen says:

David — the secret service were involved with the investigation of the Sarah Palin effigy in West Hollywood. Keith Olbermann, one of the most liberal news figures, denounced it. Neighbors also tried to block the awful sight from passing motorists. I dare say that it was definitely not met with “humor” or “glee.”

How do our “tax monies” support what you call a double standard?

Mike says:

David,

Raised in KY, I live in L.A. and trust me, there is an outcry over the Palin incident. Authorities are looking into it. Even though I am not a fan of Palin, it’s sad to see such a thing happen to her. And as well as to Obama.

Trust me, in most cases out here, Palin’s situation is not responded to in glee. And I don’t believe there is no agenda that says it’s permissible to hang a ‘conservative white woman’ and greet the event with humor. I’m afraid of what I’ve heard coming from KY this year regarding Obama, I’ve had to stop defending my home state to those out here who have a negative opinion of Kentucky, especially after hearing people’s narrow-minded comments towards Obama during the primaries and now this at U of K.

I just hope people learn to get the political discourse back to civility and not stoop to these levels of stupidity.

David says:

It is interesting to notice that the words disgust and outrage are associated with this effigy, and that the police are engaged in hunting down the perpetrators, and yet when the hanging effigy is of Sarah Palin it is greeted with humor, and in some circles with glee. What does this double standard mean as a reflection upon our society?

Should not the outcry in each situation be the same, one of disgust and outrage, with the perpetrators hunted down and arrested, to be charged with hate crimes? Or does this reflect something more sinister, that it is permissible to hang a “conservative white woman” and greet such an event as one of humor, but a similar instance where the symbol represents social liberalism is to be greeted with a violent response and those responsible hunted down and punished?

What kind of double standard are we being forced to support with our tax monies?

None of these incidents should be viewed as humorous, each should be viewed as what they are – reprehensible and the product of personalities which should not be allowed further intercourse with the rest of society, but rather institutionalized, where their narrow minded prejudices cannot infect others in the civil society around them.

Adam says:

Dave,

It was convenient of you to ignore the context of my statement, which I clearly rebutted, in your approval of Taylor’s comments.

Dave says:

Well-said, Taylor.

Tonight at 7pm at UK’s Memorial Hall there will be a vigil in response to the hanging of the Obama effigy. Please come if you can.

http://www.kftc.org/blog/archive/2008/10/29/obama-effigy-found-hanging-in-a-noose-at-uk-this-morning

Adam says:

Taylor,

Agreed. Note I used the term “communist dictator”, and that was not fallacious. Context is key here. That statement implies totalitarian control of a population, whereby freedom of speech must be extinguished in order to maintain complete control. Communism is evil, in the sense that it teaches, by use of force, that the individual is less important than the community. In such an environment, people are eventually exterminated in prison camps, or arbitrarily. History shows us this.

Agreed, but it depends on what you mean by tolerance. There’s tolerating non-threatening (threatening is illegal) speech at a voluntary level, recognizing free speech rights, and publicly impugning the creator of either the Palin or Obama effigy, but “tolerance” through speech laws through means of coercive enforcement (i.e. hate crime) is tyrannical. So if by tolerating, you mean we should have hate crimes established to limit this type of speech, then one would implicityly support state sanction speech only. Again, in the long run, there is NO in between area in the matter of free speech.

Adam- you’ve got the right idea (mostly). it is fallacious to just throw the word ‘communist’ out there like every ‘communist’ is evil and hates free speech while every non-communist is perfect and accepts everyone. When it boils down to it, our country doesn’t do such a good job of protecting free speech, regardless. you don’t have to be a community, or even a fascist, to oppose free speech.

there is, however, a big difference between tolerating a difference of opinion and tolerating malicious, hateful, threatening, bigoted, unjust and unjustified speech that portrays the first major party presidential candidate of color being lynched like it was 1920. two very, very different things.

Adam says:

The true test of freedom of speech is if we tolerate ugly speech, obnoxious speech, and speech that we disagree with, or are morally opposed to.

If you do not support “free” speech, then you ultimately support “state sanctioned speech”, enforced by politicians and government administrators. To this end, I ask you to look towards the worlds communist dictators to see where this ends up.

Free speech, or state sanctioned speech. There IS NO IN BETWEEN, as speech cannot be regulated to one degree or another through any political system for the long term. The choice is yours.

Cassandra says:

This university wonders why the diversity enrollment is so low. It’s because we don’t feel comfortable here. This campus is associated with racism and the fact that this has occurred has only made things worse.

Bjorn- I would take a gander that terroristic threatening and violation of civil rights statutes could be in play. the Sarah Palin effigy being hung in California right now doesn’t violate federal law, but some officials pointed out that an effigy of Obama could be classified a hate crime – especially because of the historic images that would be recalled by such a symbol. again, just a guess.

Bjorn Westergard says:

As reprehensible as this is, what crime would the individual(s) responsible be charged with? It’s when we’re most disgusted, when our passions run highest that upholding the right to free speech is most important. Restricting anyone’s free speech is a threat to everyone’s.

To paraphrase Voltaire: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

M.E. Aull says:

As a staff member, I am completely mortified that we have allowed students (if this was done by students) who were this STUPID into our institution of Higher Learning. Regardless of our political differences, we are Kentuckians and we are BETTER than this!

A.J. Mertz says:

On Wednesday will walking to class I walked right by the Obama effigy. The cops where on seen and the effigy was still up. I contemplated taking a picture of this rude and horrific seen, but i didn’t want the culprits of the crime to have the dignity of their handy work being seen by any more people than had to be. I am completely disgusted and out raged that some one would go and deface our university in such a horrific way.