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Wednesday
Oct032012

Balloons Launched at Students of Color at University of Texas

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- 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 incidences occurred from June through September, but students only came forward to report the attacks after being contacted by the UT police chief, Posey said.

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 incidences," Posey said.

Posey said the university's Student Affairs department is working closely with student groups, particularly fraternities and sororities, to help gather information about the alleged attacks. No suspects have been identified.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio