Investigation underway after noose found on Duke campus
Posted April 1, 2015 8:22 a.m. EDT
Updated April 1, 2015 6:50 p.m. EDT
Durham, N.C. — Officials at Duke University said Wednesday that an investigation is underway after a noose was found hanging on a tree at the plaza outside the Bryan Center.
Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta said in an email to students Wednesday that the noose was removed early Wednesday. The Duke Chronicle reported that the noose, which was made with yellow rope, was removed at about 2:45 a.m.
"To whomever committed this hateful and stupid act, I just want to say that, if your intent was to create fear, it will have the opposite effect," Moneta wrote. "In time, each of these cowardly acts of bias and hatred will strengthen our resolve to love and support each other."
Authorities are working to identify who was responsible, Moneta said, and anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Duke University Police at 919-684-2444.
Duke students reacted with a mix of disgust, sadness and a hope that the noose wasn't left by a member of the Duke community.
"Racism still does exist, as some people say, but this is such a diverse group of students that you would never think it would hit this close," student Kalia Johnson said.
"Duke is supposed to be a place where people from all different backgrounds can come and receive a quality education, and that’s completely, like, violated with this act," junior John Park said. "Maybe somehow, in someone’s mind somehow, it was justified as an April fool’s act or something like that, but that kind of just speaks to the ignorance sometimes that people on this campus have."
About 300 students and faculty members took part in a march and rally hosted by the Black Student Alliance to show unity against hatred.
"We will not be afraid. We will stand together. We will come together. We will speak up. We will speak out. Our voices will be raised," the crowd chanted.
"It seems very hateful, and that's not what the Duke community represents at all. That's not our culture here. I don't agree with it, and it was sad to see," sophomore Michael Mann said.
"Somehow we need to make a point that that's not going to be tolerated in this country or anywhere really. That's just not OK," senior Keby Brown said.
"Even though we see a symbol of hatred like this, we can’t stand divided. We can’t start blaming other people. We can’t say it’s this person’s fault, it's this person’s fault. We have to get past it," said a sophomore who identified himself only as "Richard."
Some students said they worry there is a growing pattern of racism on college campuses across the country and situations like this make black students fear for their own safety.
"All I could think about was the police rioting going on and how black lives don't matter to some people," student Lynee Belton said.
Later, Duke President Richard Brodhead, Provost Sally Kornbluth and others led a forum on the steps of Duke Chapel to discuss the incident.
"This is not the Duke that we want," Brodhead told the crowd, calling the noose "abhorrent."
He and others said they realize racism exists on college campuses but noted actions such as the afternoon march and evening forum, where students and others unity to confront the issue, is the only way to defeat racism.
The crowd erupted when Moneta told them, "Black lives matter. All lives matter."