Both the New York Daily News and HuffPo report that after observing Black Solidarity Day on November 8th, 2011, students found a sign reading "Colored Only" above a drinking fountain on the first floor of the university's Humanities Building. Another sign was found in the LeFevre Hall dormitory building that read "lynch niggers Nov. 10th at 7:30 P.M. main lounge". Although the signs were promptly removed, another sign calling for "lynching" was spotted in an elevator on November 10th. In addition, the perpetrators also used social media to spread their message, creating a Tumblr page that posted a photo of the original "Colored Only" sign with a caption that said, "My friend is trying to start a race war at New Paltz." The page has since been deactivated.
Senior Ayanna Thomas, who serves as Vice President of Academic Affairs on the student governing board, said students of all races are banding together through an initiative led by the Black Student Union and the Student Association, the undergraduate governing body. Although "students of color" only make up five percent of the student body, they are disproportionately influential on campus, with five out of the seven student association executive board members being minorities. Damage control began with a student discussion on November 17th, with another campus-wide forum scheduled for November 30th.
But it appears the Black Studies department may be wising up to the fact that a growing number of students are merely paying lip service to diversity and profess allegiance to it primarily to preserve social standing. The Black Studies department wants more; they're no longer placated by window-dressing positions on executive boards. And so they issued the following demands to the university president:
SUNY New Paltz needs more than just diversity and acceptance. The very concept of diversity was popularized by the U.S. Supreme Court to satisfy the needs of elite post secondary schools seeking to improve the education of their majority white students by giving them contact with students of color while leaving the systems of oppression, power and white hegemony in place. Diversity simply means race mixing, usually for the benefit of white students. The real tragedy of America generally and SUNY New Paltz specifically has been the substitution of diversity for the real remedial programs that were needed for a nation less than five decades removed from the official Jim Crow system of racial caste. Dismantling Jim Crow demands some sort of "remedy," "equality," "repair," "integration," "anti-discrimination," "fairness," and "justice." These are the demands of real change. Diversity is non-remedial was never designed as a cure for disparate treatment or impact.
It is our hope that over the coming weeks and months your administration will use this tragic event to begin the process of, what Martin Luther King, Jr. called, "substantive equality," which is so desperately needed on this campus.
The statement above is a bunch of inchoate gobbledy-gook showing that regardless of what we Whites say or do, it will never be enough for Blacks. The fact that they claim that diversity has been beneficial to Whites shows how clueless Blacks are about White thinking. We can't live with them, but they can't seem to live without us.
Campus police have launched an investigation and say they have turned up several potentially strong leads on and off the campus, but nothing substantive has developed yet. James Rollins Sr., president of the Middletown chapter of the NAACP, says he believes the signs were meant to intimidate the only two black maintenance workers on the campus, further stating “A noose being hung in the presence of an African-American person is the same as a swastika being placed in the presence of a Jewish person.”
Why Rollins referred to a noose is inexplicable, since no noose was reportedly left anywhere on campus. Perhaps one of the Black maintenance workers has a beef with the campus and planted the signs to get back at them? It's not unheard of; recently, a black man burned a cross in his own driveway to get back at his wife.