CULLOWHEE, N.C. — Authorities said Tuesday that a student prank, not a political statement, was the motivation for dumping a dead bear cub draped in Barack Obama signs on a North Carolina campus earlier this week.
Seven Western Carolina University students were involved, and possible charges were being discussed with the local prosecutor, said Campus Police Chief Tom Johnson. Police did not release the students' names.
The students told authorities they took political signs at random to cover the bear's wound and prevent blood from spilling into the bed of the truck they were driving.
They discovered a carcass of the cub, which had been shot in the head, while camping over the weekend and brought it back to a gathering at an apartment near campus Sunday night, according to a statement from the school.
It was during that gathering, officials said, that a student suggested placing the bear at the base of a statue at the main entrance to the campus.
Maintenance workers found the bear cub's body early Monday morning near the school's entrance.
"I am pleased to hear that this situation appears to be a stupid prank," Western Carolina chancellor John W. Bardo said.