In the second racially charged on-campus incident in three weeks, UC Irvine police said Friday that they are investigating a note found in a black student's backpack that read, "Go back 2 Africa slave."
The female student discovered the note while she was in the science library Tuesday, UCI spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon said.
UCI police Sgt. Mark Arnold called the note a "hate incident."
Campus police routinely investigate similar incidents to determine whether they rise to the level of a hate crime, he said.
"If it's a criminal matter then it would go to the courts," he said. "If it were an internal discipline issue the university would handle that."
Police say they are unaware of any connection to a UCI fraternity's YouTube video that was blasted for racial insensitivity about three weeks ago.
The parody music video featured a member of the Asian fraternity Lambda Theta Delta wearing blackface.
"To say whether these two things are connected is not something I'm prepared to do," Lawhon said.
The fraternity has since apologized and volunteered to suspend itself.
Police took a report on that incident as well, Arnold said.
It was quickly turned over to the university, which is conducting a disciplinary investigation.
There is currently no suspect associated with the "slave" note, Arnold said.
If police identify a suspect, UCI's administration will conduct its own investigation, Lawhon said.
"There could be disciplinary action taken at that point," she said.
The campus, which is 2.6% African American, garnered nationwide attention because of the blackface video. Members of the Black Student Union called it an example of racial insensitivity they say is common at UCI.
"Certainly we've not had this kind of visibility in the news before on our campus," Lawhon said.
Student affairs has offered resources to the student targeted by the note, Lawhon said, and extra racial sensitivity programs were conducted after the blackface incident.
The university will continue its standard diversity training and programs, she said.
"We have ongoing programs that are designed to teach students to value each other's cultures and differences," Lawhon said. "We're certainly continuing those."