SLU student leaders quit over noose photo

Thursday, April 8, 2010

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Two student leaders at Saint Louis University have resigned their positions after a photo surfaced showing them posing with a noose.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday that the image was posted more than nine months ago on the Facebook social networking site but drew attention this week. It shows student government Vice President Robert Moehle and student Sen. Ben Orr with a noose and a sign that reads: "Only for use on white people!!" A second photo shows Orr alone with the noose.

The meaning wasn't clear. Orr did not have a listed phone number. Moehle deferred comment until the university completed its investigation.

Resignation letters from both students were read at a Wednesday night meeting of the student government association. Their statements included apologies. Neither attended, citing academic commitments.

The incident was among several at Saint Louis University that prompted complaints about insensitivity from minority groups.

Racial slurs have been found on walls, and there have been reports of slurs shouted at black students. In February, a student reported that during a confrontation, another student threatened a lynching. And, someone stole a cross belonging to a support group for gays and lesbians.

The university said punishments have been administered in at least two incidents, but cited privacy laws in not disclosing details.

University officials learned of the Facebook photos on Monday.

"An investigation is under way in accordance with university procedures as well as the provisions of the student code of conduct," a statement from the university said. "SLU is deeply committed to its mission, and acts of intolerance are unacceptable and treated very seriously by the university."

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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