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REHS sends apology email after calling racist incident on campus a 'Halloween prank'

October 22, 2019
<p>The Spartan Statue photographed on May 15, 2019.</p>

The Spartan Statue photographed on May 15, 2019.

A mass email from the Executive Director of Residence Education and Housing Services, or REHS, Dr. Ray Gasser, was recently sent out to the students and faculty of Michigan State, apologizing about an incident that happened in Bryan Hall over the weekend and how it was originally handled.

In an email, REHS said the incident — in which two black students found and reported a noose made out of toilet paper taped to their dorm room door — was a "Halloween prank."

“In our haste to get information out and with the intent to be transparent, our message was not as clear as we’d have liked,” Gasser said.

In this newest email, Gasser reassured the community that REHS takes things like this seriously and said his crew did act immediately upon becoming aware of what exactly had occurred on Friday evening.

“A noose is never a prank," he said in the email. "And in no way would MSU or our department regard a noose as a prank."

Gasser said in the email that their department recognizes the historical meaning within the African American community and the psychological and emotional harm this symbol has impacted the two students.

Following the initial email sent by REHS on Saturday, students had voluntarily come forward and shared evidence of their actions, stating that their intentions were to complete a "Happy Halloween You Got Booed" prank, Gasser said in the email. These students said they didn't intend for the toilet paper to look like a noose.

This incident is still under investigation by the Office of Institutional Equity and the Michigan State University Police Department, and it will also continue to go through the student conduct process that the university upholds.

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.

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