Program shows racial unity on MU campus

Dozens gathered for a show of unity on the MU campus Friday evening, the same day two students apologized for an insensitive racial prank.

The gathering was in response to cotton balls being dropped on the lawn in front of the Black Culture Center on campus.

Police arrested freshman Sean Fitzgerald, 19, and senior Zachary Tucker, 21, earlier this week on suspicion of tampering, which is being considered a hate crime. They have not been formally charged. In addition to potential criminal charges, the two students face possible discipline through the university's student conduct process. Friday, they issued apologies in person and through their attorneys.

Still, dozens of people gathered on the steps of Jesse Hall in a show of racial unity on campus.

Organized by the Legion of Black Collegians and other student groups, the program included speakers, singing, and what they hoped would be a candlelight march but it was too windy to keep the candles lit.

Organizers also answered critics who say the cotton ball incident was blown out of proportion. "We really want to make sure that this situation is made an example of," said Kristen Andrews, the activities chair for the LBC. "It shows that the university is going to be united against things like this and we're not going to fall apart to people who think hate crimes are funny."