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Two University of Missouri students have been arrested on suspicion of hate crimes after cotton balls were scattered outside the Black Culture Center.

Campus police arrested a 19-year-old and a 21-year-old Tuesday night based on an anonymous tip. The two face possible charges of felony tampering and have been suspended from school.

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[4:05 p.m. – 2/26/2010] – UMissouri Black Cultural Center Littered With Cotton In Racist Display

From the Columbia Tribune:

University of Missouri police are investigating a racist display left overnight outside of the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center on campus.

Faculty, staff and students awoke this morning to find the grassy area and sidewalk outside of the building on Virginia Avenue littered with cotton balls.

MU police officers were told that two individuals dressed in dark clothing were seen running from the area between 1:30 and 2 a.m., Capt. Brian Weimer said. Police were on the scene this morning and also are expected to review video from nearby surveillance cameras.

One MU police officer attempted to pick up the cotton balls and throw them away, said sophomore JaNeé Harrell, who said another student told the officer to leave them.

Weimer said the officer had collected some of the cotton that was being blown about by the wind, but he stressed there was no effort to cover up what had happened.

“Typically with vandalism, one of the first things you do is clean it up,” he said, noting that officers had already taken photos of the display.

The cotton should be left in public view, “so every black on campus can recognize the hate crime,” Harrell said. “Every minority on campus should be offended, just as whites should be embarrassed.”

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