Bleach Balloons Launched at Students of Color at University of Texas
University of Texas students protested bleach-balloon attacks Tuesday.
Oct. 3, 2012— -- The University of Texas in Austin is reeling from reports of black and Asian students seemingly being targeted and hit with bleach-filled balloons while off campus.
Dozens of students, alumni and faculty protested the attacks on campus Tuesday, after four students filed reports with the UT police department Monday saying they had been targeted.
Each of the students reported being hit while walking near West Campus apartments, a location that is off UT's campus, according to Cindy Posey, public information officer for the UT police department.
The incidents occurred from June through September, but students only came forward to report the attacks after being contacted by the UT police chief, Posey said.
"We had heard at UT rumors of incidents that had happened, but no one had ever filed a report," Posey said. "Our chief of police did his own research, found some things on Facebook, and heard about a couple of people who were hit by balloons.
"Chief Robert Dahlstrom reached out to the kids and said to them, 'Why have you not filed a report?' So [on Monday] four people came forward and filed reports."
The targets in all of the attacks are students of color who say the bleach balloons fell from high-rise buildings toward them.
"It's very frustrating to know that it's 2012 and that stuff like this still happens," UT student Jaysen Runnels told ABC News affiliate KVUE-TV.
The African-American student said he had been hit twice by "bleach bombs" on two separate occasions in the area known as West Campus.
"A bleach bomb fell and hit me, my roommate," said Runnels, who is among the students who filed a police report. "Well, almost hit us. It barely missed us."
UT police have not been able to confirm that bleach was in the balloons, but are working to "get to the bottom of these incidents," Posey said.
"UT is an incredibly diverse community, and we are adamantly opposed to anything resembling any kind of racial discrimination," she said. "So we are working really hard to get to the bottom of it. We're talking to people and trying to find out what happened."
No suspects have been identified.
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