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Vassar Students Demonstrate Against 'Racist' Student Actions

By Jaleh Poorooshasb

Students at Vassar College last week protested against student behavior which they felt had racial overtones, and demanded the administration institute regulations against similar acts in the future.

Jewish and Afro-American societies initiated a demonstration of about 300 students after two students who had previously been seen wearing costumes similar to those of the Ku Klux Klan harassed a minority student.

A report in yesterday's New York Times said that after a political argument with an Indian freshman, two white students put on sheets and pillowcases and "confronted (him) in what they insist was 'a joke'." They then took off the sheets and hung one of them in a dormitory hall.

Ku Klux Klan

According to a pamphlet the Vassar Hillel and Afro-American societies released last week, the minority student was " the corridor where the K.K.K. garment was hung."

The two students then "bound his hands behind his back with a belt," the pamphlet said.

Herbert C. Johnson, Director of Communications at Vassar, said yesterday the demonstration was "very peaceful" and consisted of an "orderly" march to the house of Vassar President Alan Simpson.

Simpson responded with a public statement supporting the demonstrators' cause. He assured them the college would take action against the two offenders, who will appear before the Vassar College Court, which is composed of both student and faculty members.


Johnson said yesterday the media has blown the incident out of proportion, because he said the Indian and the offenders are in fact friends. "Many students on campus didn't even know anything was happening," he added.

Louis A. Bargo, a Vassar freshman, said "Everyone was talking about" the in- cident, and added that the matter had been discussed in both his English and Economics classes.

A Vassar student who asked not to be identified said yesterday the two students claimed their action was a joke and that they had not intended any racial overtones.

"I assume the administration will get something more basic and specific into its regulations" concerning future actions of this nature, Johnson said

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