Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Racial hate incident on Michigan State's campus being investigated

October 21, 2019
Beaumont Tower on Aug. 23, 2019.
Beaumont Tower on Aug. 23, 2019. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

Editor's note — This story has been updated to reflect a time change for Tuesday's community meeting, held by MSU Black Students' Alliance.

On Friday, a student reported an incident on Michigan State’s campus in Brody Neighborhood involving what appeared to be a symbol of racially charged bias, hate and intimidation through a toilet paper noose taped to a resident’s door.

Following the report from Bryan Hall on Saturday, MSU Resident Education and Housing Services, or REHS, notified students and faculty of the university via a mass email.

“We do not know the intent or motivation of those who defaced the door of the students, however, we do know that it has disrupted a sense of safety and belonging for them," REHS said in the email.

In another email, REHS said it was brought to their attention that it was simply a “Halloween prank” and was never intended to cause harm.

MSU spokesperson Emily Guerrant said in an email to The State News that MSU Police and members of REHS responded immediately to the incident.

"After initial discussions, other student residents came forward and volunteered that they had taped up decorations in the hall as part of what they referred to as a Halloween prank, which were not meant to offend anyone or denote any racial bias and were not intended to resemble a noose," Guerrant said. "The impact on members of our campus community is taken seriously and is being investigated in accordance with university policies."

The MSU Black Students' Alliance released a statement regarding the incident, and said the organization will hold a meeting to further discuss the situation and assess steps to take moving forward.

"Despite the fact that this object was looped and wrapped strikingly similarly to what would typically be regarded as a noose, and considering the prolonged and traumatic history of lynching Black citizens in the United States, and the fact that it was placed onto the door of two Black women specifically, Michigan State still managed to sum up the entire situation as a 'random Halloween prank,'" the statement says.

The organization will hold the meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in Akers room C14.

This is the second noose incident to happen on campus since 2017.

In a statement from the Associated Students of Michigan State University, the student body president and the chief, diversity, equity and inclusion officer wrote that the incident has implications of racist undertones.

"The Associated Students of Michigan State University understands the severity of the situation and we believe that incidents like these must be addressed appropriately," the statement reads. "The bias incident exemplifies the continuous oppression and violence that the Black Community has faced historically."

MSU Police and the MSU Office of Institutional Equity are continuing to investigate the incident.

This is a developing story. In our reporting, we'll focus on credible information from officials and other authorities and do our best to correct any inaccuracies. We'll continue to update this story, check back for more updates and keep up with us on Twitter @thesnews.

Campus general assignment reporter Wendy Guzman contributed reporting to this story.

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