RALEIGH — Following Tuesday’s historic election, students and staff at NC State University woke up to find racist and threatening messages targeting President-elect Barack Obama on the campus’ Free Expression Tunnel.

A hallmark of the campus since the 1960s, the Free Expression Tunnel has been described as the campus’ way of combating graffiti.

The spray-painted messages included phrases “Shoot Obama,” “KKK” and “kill that n—-“, among others.

Four students have admitted to the graffiti, but the U.S. Secret Service and campus police deemed there was no immediate physical threat to Obama. The students have not been criminally charged but might face disciplinary action under the school’s student conduct code. The students’ identities have not been released; campus police cited privacy laws.

On Thursday, a rally of 500 students gathered to protest the graffiti. The events were covered by local news outlets including an ABC TV affiliate and Raleigh’s News & Observer. Another to “stop the hate” has been planned for this week.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.