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University Spokesman Says No Charges Filed In Cross Burning

March 30, 1986 GMT

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) _ The University of Alabama says a weekend cross burning at a house a black sorority is considering using as a residence for members was a prank, but some black student leaders termed it a threat.

The cross was burned early Saturday in the yard of the house that the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority is considering moving into on the university’s all-white ″sorority row.″

″It was a threat. It was a way of saying, ’Black people can clean our houses, but they can’t move in next door,‴ said Reginald McCall, president of the Pan-Greek Council, which is made up of the four black fraternities and three black sororities on campus.

University police detained two white students after the cross burning, but no charges were filed and the students’ names were not released, said University Relations Director Mike Ellis. He would not say if the two were members of a fraternity.

Ellis said the incident was ″somewhat like a school prank,″ but that is was ″obviously in poor taste.″

University officials said they believed the cross burning was related to an article Friday in the student newspaper that described a meeting of members of several all-white sororities who discussed the possibility of an all-black sorority moving into their neighborhood.

Ellis said police increased security in the area around the house after the story appeared.

Some of the 1,350 blacks on the campus of about 16,000 students said they considered the incident more than a prank.

″To anybody who has been here on campus or who read the article it is more than a prank. I consider it a scare tactic, a threat,″ said Steve Ruffin, a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and president of that black fraternity’s housing committee.