WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials were slow to handle racial incidents at the University of Missouri, and that contributed to protests, a student hunger strike, a threatened boycott by the football team and ultimately, the resignations of two administrators.

At the University of Oklahoma, damage over a racist chant that was caught on video was kept to a minimum when the school president acted quickly to expel the students and condemn the episode.

Swift action is high among the best practices that school leaders can use to help defuse campus tension, experts say.

“There’s no such thing as having a perfect plan, but you have to continually be in the motion of creating a better campus climate,” said Jabar Shumate, Oklahoma’s vice president for the university community.

Benjamin Reese, president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, said administrators should not wait for students to demand a meeting. Instead, he said, they can invite students to strategic meetings and join students in protests if it’s over an issue they agree with. Administrators should know what they are going to do before something happens and be willing to speak out immediately, Reese said.

For example, Harvard University President Drew Faust immediately condemned the taping over of portraits of black professors on a wall. “Such acts of hatred are inimical to our most fundamental values and represent an assault on the mutual respect essential to our purposes as a community of learning and inquiry,” Faust said a day after that happened.

“We all absolutely need to prepare and there’s a lot of things that we can do,” said Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark, who joined students at her university at a recent protest.

College leaders cannot create perfect environments, Reese said, “but I better try as hard as I can to work toward that environment.” He plans a national meeting to help colleges come up with strategies.

Campus protests are occurring almost daily.

At Missouri, the perceived slow response to a series of episodes marked by racial slurs and graffiti sparked protests and the resignations. Students are protesting at places such as Yale, where a college administrator upset many students by pushing back against a school committee that asked students to avoid culturally stereotypical Halloween costumes like Native American headpieces.

The Education Department’s civil rights office fielded 53 racial harassment complaints from postsecondary schools in the 2007-2008 budget year, a number similar to previous years going back to 2004. The next year, the number soared to 91 and it has continued to rise almost annually, to a high of 177 before dipping to 146 in the budget year that ended Oct. 1.

To help schools deal with these issues, the department convened students and administrative leaders in Chicago for a private meeting in November, as various schools have taken steps on their own.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the fast response to racial incidents, a campuswide statement of values to help set a tone for students, and support for student-led initiatives can help episodes from overwhelming campuses.

“There is no constitutional right to perpetuate hostile environments or to engage in threatening speech,” Duncan said. “We can do better in our responses to these incidents and creating more welcoming climates.”

In March, Oklahoma moved swiftly after Sigma Alpha Epsilon members were videotaped singing a racist chant on a charter bus. University President David Boren immediately condemned the video and two students were expelled. Since then, the university has instituted mandatory diversity courses for all freshmen and transfer students.

Officials at Missouri have talked about instituting similar programs at the state’s flagship campus in Columbia, Shumate said.

Duncan also pointed to the University of Mississippi as a role model. The school has extensive experience dealing with racial tension. President John F. Kennedy sent federal troops to force the school to admit its first black student, James Meredith. For years, students there waved Confederate flags at sporting events.

Given that history, racial incidents get more attention on campus, said Lee Tyner, the university’s general counsel and chief of staff.

When students draped a noose on the statue of Meredith on campus, the school responded immediately — and in an environment where the university is always talking with its students about diversity and racial harmony, he said.

That means there are already conversations going on between the administration and the students, and agreed-upon words and tools for dealing with problems, said Tyner, whose school hosts the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

“You don’t start talking about it when an incident happens,” he said.


Jesse J. Holland covers race, ethnicity and demographics for The Associated Press. Contact him at jholland@ap.org, on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jessejholland and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jessejholland

BOSTON (AP) — A man has come forward saying Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor assaulted him during a fight in Boston that was recorded on cellphone video and posted online, police said.

The man filed a police report Friday saying he was punched and knocked to the ground outside a nightclub early Thursday morning, authorities said. The man said he needed stitches to close a cut above his eye, according to police.

The man told police that the fight broke out after some of his female friends refused the advances of two other men, including one believed to be Okafor.

Boston police said they are investigating the allegations. No charges have been announced.

The 19-year-old rookie said Friday that he was embarrassed about the scuffle and was dealing with the team and the NBA on possible discipline.

Okafor said he reacted to heckling about the Sixers, who lost to the Celtics Wednesday night to fall to 0-16 on the season.

“It was definitely dumb on my part,” Okafor said Friday.

A few hours later, the Sixers fell to the Houston Rockets, 116-114, to remain winless on the season. Okafor had 11 points and six rebounds.

TMZ posted cellphone video of the altercation on Thursday (https://youtu.be/aAmCcvHHY8M), showing Okafor yelling and later shoving a man outside the club.

ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — Paraguay’s president has fired the head of the country’s Indian affairs office amid accusations he kicked an indigenous woman.

President Horacio Cartes said Friday that he won’t allow someone who represents indigenous people to kick a woman.

A video circulating on social media shows Indian affairs chief Jorge Servin lifting his left knee and kicking Jorgelina Portillo of the Ava Guarani ethnic group with the sole of his shoe during a Thursday protest.

Servin denies striking the woman and says he lifted his knee only in self-defense.

The demonstration by some 200 members of the ethnic group took place in the northern Canindeyu region. They were protesting over Servin sending a bill to Congress that would restrict the leasing of state land managed by indigenous people.

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Johnny Manziel’s demotion might include him not dressing for the game.

Browns coach Mike Pettine said Friday that he hasn’t decided if Manziel, who was stripped of his starting job this week, will be active for Monday night’s matchup against Baltimore.

Manziel was downgraded from starter to third string when a video surfaced of him partying during Cleveland’s bye week in an Austin, Texas, club. Josh McCown will start when the Browns (2-8) host the Ravens (3-7) with Austin Davis serving as the backup. Manziel is next on the depth chart and that could mean he doesn’t get to put on his uniform.

“I haven’t done the worksheet yet, but that always comes down to projected health, where we are at other positions,” Pettine said. “So I haven’t made that decision yet.”

Manziel’s swift downfall came shortly after he was elevated to starter for the remainder of this season. But after promising Pettine and other coaches he would behave during the time off, Manziel, who spent 10 weeks in a rehab facility during the offseason, couldn’t resist going out on the town.

Pettine refused to divulge any more details for his decision to bench Manziel, but he did not deny that part of the punishment was due to the 22-year-old not being honest with him.

“I already addressed it,” Pettine said. “I said trust and accountability was where we had a shortfall. I have nothing more to add.”

Manziel made a brief appearance in Cleveland’s locker room following practice, but was not available for an interview. He has not spoken to reporters since his demotion.

Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said he supports Pettine’s decision to penalize Manziel. He understands the reason, but that doesn’t ease the sting.

“It’s disappointing,” he said. “I’m not going to lie. You have a player that I think we would all agree has come so far from a football standpoint from the product he put on the field from a year ago.”

DeFilippo has been supportive of Manziel all season, and he’s not going to bail on him now.

“All of us as people, myself included, we all are a work-in-progress every day,” he said. “Some of us are dealing with some different issues than others. We know Johnny’s issues and we are working with him every day. There is no doubt in my mind that Johnny is going to bounce back.”

Like Pettine, DeFilippo sidestepped questions about his conversations with Manziel. He still believes the 22-year-old, who went 1-2 as a starter this season, can develop into a franchise QB.

“I like what I’ve seen. I really do,” he said. “Even the jump that he made from the Cincinnati game to the Pittsburgh game was a huge jump. I think Johnny’s played enough football where we know what we have in him and as we all know a six-game season in the NFL is a long stretch — a very long stretch.”

“We’re a long way from the end of the season, so you don’t close doors on anything. You never say never in this profession. So to say Johnny Manziel won’t play again this season, I’m not ready to say that,” he said.

NOTES: Pettine said CB Joe Haden, who will miss his fifth game this season with a concussion, has been unable to pass a memory test to get back to his preseason baseline score. … WRs Taylor Gabriel and Andrew Hawkins will also miss Monday’s game with concussions. … LG Joel Bitonio returned to practice after injuring his ankle on Nov. 5 at Cincinnati and sitting out against Pittsburgh the following week. He’s hoping to be healthy enough to face the Ravens.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP—NFL

HOUSTON (AP) — Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor says he’s embarrassed about a Boston nightclub scuffle captured on video and is dealing with the team and league on possible discipline.

The rookie taken with the third pick in the 2015 draft said after a shootaround Friday that the fight following a loss to the Celtics was “definitely dumb on my part.”

Okafor says he reacted to heckling about the 0-16 Sixers, the only team in the NBA without a win.

TMZ posted cellphone video of the altercation on Thursday (https://youtu.be/aAmCcvHHY8M), showing Okafor yelling and later shoving a man outside the club.

Okafor is expected to play against the Rockets on Friday night.

Philadelphia coach Brett Brown says the team will handle the situation internally and he expects input from the league.

Boston police say they do not plan to investigate unless someone involved comes forward to say they were the victim of a crime.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — In new blow to media freedoms in Turkey, a court on Thursday ordered two prominent opposition journalists jailed pending trial over charges of willingly aiding an armed group and of espionage for revealing state secrets for their reports on alleged arms smuggling to Syria.

The court in Istanbul ruled that Cumhuriyet newspaper’s editor-in-chief Can Dundar, and the paper’s Ankara representative, Erdem Gul, be taken into custody following more than hours of questioning.

In May, the Cumhuriyet paper published what it said were images of Turkish trucks carrying ammunition to Syrian militants.

The images reportedly date back to January 2014, when local authorities searched Syria-bound trucks, touching off a standoff with Turkish intelligence officials. Cumhuriyet said the images were proof that Turkey was smuggling arms to rebels in Syria.

The government had initially denied the trucks were carrying arms, maintaining that the cargo consisted of humanitarian aid. Some officials later suggested the trucks were carrying arms or ammunition destined to Turkmen kinsmen in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested the same recently saying: “what difference would it make if they were carrying arms?”

Dundar and Gul’s detention come amid deepening concerns over deteriorating conditions for journalists in Turkey, including a spike in prosecutions and violence.

In August, Turkey detained three journalists reporting for Vice News in the country’s restive Kurdish southeast. One of them, Mohammed Rasool, is still in custody. Rasool, an Iraqi citizen, had worked as a news assistant for The Associated Press and other organizations.

The office of the Turkish daily Hurriyet was vandalized following criticism of the newspaper by Erdogan. After the attacks, Hurriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan was chased and beaten. Recently, a business that owns several media outlets was placed under management.

Dundar and Gul’s supporters chanted: “Free press cannot be silenced” inside the courtroom after court announced its decision, Dogan news agency video footage showed. Main opposition party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said the decision marked a “black day” for democracy and freedoms.

Gul told reporters that he and Dundar are accused of helping the moderate Islamic movement led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally who has turned into his No. 1 foe. Government officials accuse Gulen’s supporters of stopping the trucks as part of an alleged plot to bring down the government. The government has branded the movement a “terror organization” although it is not known to have been engaged in any acts of violence.

Prosecutors launched an investigation into the journalists after Erdogan threatened legal action against Dundar for publishing the images and said he would not let the issue go.

His comments prompted the media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists to call on Erdogan to stop “bullying journalists … just because he doesn’t like what they report.”