On a stairwell door in a Michigan State University residence hall, hung an object that sent shivers down the spine of the student who found it: a noose.
Or was it?
After a thorough investigation, MSU police discovered the item was just a shoelace that had been dropped on the floor and some passerby hung it on the door. Police found the matching lace in a package just outside the building. But before all the facts were in, MSU President Lou Anna Simon had already released the following statement:
"No Spartan should ever feel targeted based on their race, or other ways in which they identify."
Nothing like jumping the gun!
A spokesman for the university said the shoelaces “are packaged in a way that someone could perceive them to look similar to a noose.” No picture was included in the report to verify.
The shoelaces belonged to a student who lived on the same floor as the person who was triggered. That should make for some awkwardness next time they pass in the hall.
Here are the full statements from the college:
UPDATED STATEMENT: After investigating, MSU Police have determined the object was a packaged leather shoelace and not a noose. The matching packaged shoelace was found outside of the residence hall. Officers located and spoke to the student who lost both of the shoelaces, which are packaged in a way that someone could perceive them to look similar to a noose. The student who lost the shoelaces lives on the same floor as the student who made the original report.
Also, the original shoelace found inside the residence hall was not directed at any individual. It originally was seen on hallway floor and later on a stairwell door handle, where officers believe someone put it after picking it up.
As we did in this case, the university takes any reported racial incident very seriously. We feel it is important to quickly communicate what we know to the campus community and provide updates as necessary. MSU continues to provide support to the students involved.
--Jason Cody, MSU spokesman
I was distressed this morning to learn of a racial incident in one of our residence halls. A student reported a noose was hung outside of her room. I want to recognize the courage it took for the student to report this incident.
MSU Police and our Office of Institutional Equity were immediately notified, and both promptly began investigations. I want to be clear: This type of behavior is not tolerated on our campus. No Spartan should ever feel targeted based on their race, or other ways in which they identify. A noose is a symbol of intimidation and threat that has a horrendous history in America.
While at this time we do not know all of the details, the Spartan community can be assured we are vigorously investigating this situation.
-- Lou Anna K. Simon, MSU President