We live in "a conglomeration of ignorant racists, insensitive boobs," Brooks said (right). "It's ignorance. We live in a society where anything goes."
The wounds are still raw, but the healing has started at Denison University.
Students met yesterday and Thursday in afternoon rallies, sharing frustrations and sorrow over recent racial and homophobic controversies. They talked to staff members and gathered at a candlelight vigil.
Some wore orange ski masks, to show that students shouldn't be judged on their skin color.
Posters and signs of support were posted on walls throughout the Slayter Union at the liberal-arts university in Granville, where students and staff members still are reeling from reports of discrimination that has occurred this year: ongoing campus vandalism that has included slurs against homosexuals and minority students; white students attending a Halloween party in black face; posters featuring nooses; and a note with a swastika discovered in the room of a black student.
Educators said college campuses typically are flush with diverse thoughts and students of various backgrounds. Students are rich and poor, religious and nonreligious, gay and straight. Though most on campus relish the diversity, the mix can be combustible.
"We seek to build a student body of different races, religions, socioeconomic status and nationalities," said Denison President Dale Knobel. "We also create an opportunity for rubbing, bumping and grinding."
Such controversies are not new to college campuses.
In September, swastikas drawn in crayon were found on three dorm-room doors at Kenyon College in Gambier, including one belonging to a Jewish student.
Police at Miami University in Oxford removed a student art display last week that had seven nooses and a tire swing hanging from a tree.
And swastikas, racial slurs and other obscenities were carved on the elevator doors, and a "whites only" sign was taped outside a men's bathroom, at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus last year. The incidents led to two days of protests.
Marcus Eagan, a freshman sociology and anthropology major at Denison, said the campus is fraught with societal barriers.