EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Some are calling it a prank. Others say it’s a racist act. The black community at Michigan State University says it’s a sign of a bigger problem.
It all started over the weekend when two African-American students in Bryan Hall reported toilet paper on their door resembling a noose.
The university responded and doesn’t think it’s that serious.
“Slaves were hung with nooses and killed, and to be in a dorm where we don’t know who did this,” said Wisdom Henry, a sophomore at MSU.
Henry is one of the few African-American students who live in Bryan Hall, the place where some students say a toilet paper noose was hung over the weekend.
“I take offense to that because a noose is not a Halloween prank, it’s a hate crime,” said Henry.
The university responded the act saying after initial discussions, other students came forward saying they taped up the toilet paper, and it was all meant to just be a Halloween prank and not resemble a noose.
The school added: “It is important to remember that actions and words meant to hurt someone based on their identity have no place in our community.”
“Even if it was just intended to be a Halloween prank, that doesn’t justify how this student feels. That doesn’t justify how it makes our black community feel,” said Sharron Reed-Davis, the president of the Black Student Alliance.
“Stuff like this happens every year or two and then administration sweeps it under the rug like it didn’t happen,” said Reed-Davis.
“It like just hurt to know that like they didn’t care about us,” said Henry. “I thought they would care like take charge of the situation, cause I want justice to be done for that girl and I want to feel safe on this campus, and I don’t.”
In response to this, the MSU Black Student Alliance is hosting a community forum tomorrow. It’ll start at 6:30 p.m. in the Akers Black Caucus Room.
ORIGINAL STORY: A Michigan State University student is claiming that a toilet-paper noose has been hung outside of a MSU college dorm room.
On Friday the student wrote in a Facebook post that the noose was hung only outside of this specific dorm room on the floor of Bryan Hall.
The noose has been used by the KKK to hang their victims, which are primarily African-Americans.
The Michigan State Housing Assignments Office said in an email to residents that it does not believe the act was meant to be a symbol of hate or discrimination.
“Rather, students have reported it was a random Halloween prank that caused unintended harm to members of our Bryan Hall community,” the email said.
In October 2017, MSU Police determined an object a student identified as a noose was a packaged leather shoelace.
The original shoelace found inside the residence hall was not directed at any individual, our media partners at MLIVE.com reported. “The shoelace was originally seen on a hallway floor and later on a stairwell door handle, where officers believe someone put it after picking it up.”
The Housing Assignments Office said the university takes reported racial incidents very seriously.
Michigan State University spokesperson Emily Gerkin Guerrant responded to the student’s claim Monday afternoon in an emailed statement.
In the statement, Guerrant said the university hosted a restorative conversation in the residence hall in response to the toilet paper display. She said more than 60 students participated.
“It is important to remember that actions and words meant to hurt someone based on their identity have no place in our community,” Guerrant wrote. “We believe it is our responsibility to create and maintain an environment that is physically and emotionally safe, respectful and inclusive. Any student found to be responsible for a bias incident will face disciplinary action via the student conduct system.”
The MSU Police and MSU Office of Institutional Equity are investigating the incident.
6 News reporter Dana Whyte is covering this story and will have updates throughout the day.