Racial tensions flare at Hampden-Sydney on election night - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Racial tensions flare at Hampden-Sydney on election night


Administrators at Hampden-Sydney College near Farmville are investigating complaints of an election night brawl that left some students feeling racially threatened.

The fight broke out Tuesday night, around the same time President Barack Obama won re-election. Now some community leaders are asking the Governor's office to investigate.

The students say it was supposed to be a moment of great pride for them, but that moment quickly turned into minutes of threats and chaos.

"I haven't heard the ‘N-word' being used that much in a while. [There was] a constant barrage of it, a lot of 'Go back to Africa,'" student John Barber explained.

He says students supporting Mitt Romney flooded the Minority Student Union building in an uproar.

"When they started forming one large group, that's when things got a little bit scary, when they started throwing fire crackers and breaking bottles," Barber said.

In a panic, Barber told fellow minority students to stay indoors.

"The level where it turned to where we felt threatened and felt like we had to lock our front door and back door and windows and everything is too extreme," he said.

More students shared the same concerns. College officials who say they're on top of it, but that it's ultimately up to a student-run judicial system to take action.

"Well there is an investigation. Anytime people are made to feel unwelcome, it concerns us. They're our students," said Dean of Students David Klein.

Klein points out the Minority Student Union consists of students of all races but says what happened outside of the groups' building is inexcusable. Students on the campus who support the president agree.

"I feel like if my brothers want to go out and yell ‘four more years of Obama,' they have that same right and they shouldn't be barraged by racial insults," Barber said.

In response, the college held a Town Hall meeting Wednesday for the campus to discuss the issue. Barber says he hopes it's part of an ongoing effort to make all students feel welcome.

No one was hurt during the altercation Tuesday night, but campus administrators say they do expect some students will be found in violation once the investigation is finished.

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