Students and campus officials at George Fox University , a small Christian college outside Portland, Ore., have strongly denounced the cardboard cutout of Sen. Barack Obama found hanged in effigy Tuesday morning, the Oregonian reports. The life-size reproduction was found hanging by wire from a tree with a sign taped to the front that read, "Act Six reject," referring to a scholarship program that caters to low-income students from Portland.
On Wednesday, school officials addressed the incident before a packed auditorium at the end of the college's regular chapel service. "It has been my dream to establish a university that more adequately represents the kingdom of God," President Robert Baker said. "This act causes some to question our commitment. What I've learned is we still have work to do."
The university and police continue to investigate who was responsible for the incident, but they aren't even clear that a crime was committed. "It doesn't fit as a hate crime, and it doesn't fit in as intimidation, necessarily," Newberg police Sgt. Tim Weaver said. "If it's not a crime, we're not going to be involved."
Minority students on campus have said that they don't necessarily fear for their safety, but they do hope to use their shock and anger to create a teachable moment.
"Immediately, it was disgust and outrage, but that has waned off to understanding," said a George Fox sophomore. "Now I see not much can be done about what happened, but we can get through it together. Now there's a lot more hope."