Nationwide debates about racial tension and racism on college campuses were magnified this week after ropes that looked like nooses were found on the campus of the University of Delaware (UDel).
A student reported the appearance of nooses hanging from a tree on Tuesday, prompting outcry from students and the community about the possibility of a hate crime like the one at Duke University this spring. UDel’s acting president Nancy Targett (pictured above) made a statement on the "hateful acts" before police concluded their investigation. Officers found that the ropes were from a hanging paper lantern display that hadn’t been properly taken down, and concluded that it wasn’t a hate crime. Targett later asked community members to join her for a campuswide discussion on the racial climate:
It was not a hate crime–however, I believe it’s still a time for dialogue. Meet me on the Green 4:30pm http://t.co/a7bVvItdQ2 #VoicesofUDel
— Nancy Targett (@NancyMTargett) September 23, 2015
The result of the police investigation and the manner in which officials addressed the issue did little to dissuade community members’ concerns, as documented by CNN:
I seriously doubt that that was leftover from a "paper lantern event". How did no one notice that until last night @UDelaware ?
— yung hot dante (@FalvioValiente) September 23, 2015
Even under the premise that these were lanterns, the commentary that followed from the UD student body is a serious cause for concern
— Justin (@Always_Wynnin) September 23, 2015