Officials at the University of Illinois are investigating a report of a noose found in an elevator at Allen Hall, a student dorm in Urbana.
Students reported the incident early Sunday. Campus officials said U of I police and multiple campus departments responded quickly and are working with campus staff to try to determine if the noose was placed as a threat.
Kayla Stewart, a sophomore at the U of I and a member of the student organization Black Students for Revolution, said she was angry, but not surprised, to learn about the incident, given several recent acts of racism on campus.
Such incidents led black employees to file a class-action lawsuit against the campus earlier this year, alleging racial harassment is U of I’s “standard operating procedure.”
Stewart said she’s not satisfied with how prior racist incidents have been handled.
In a statement, Black Students for Revolution expressed disappointment that campus officials had not informed students about the incident at Allen Hall as of Monday night.
The group is asking the U of I to review its discipline policies for “perpetrators of racial hatred” and regularly publicize all reported incidents of racism.
“We don’t want it hidden from the students, hidden from the campus,” Stewart said. “We don’t want it swept under the rug either. We need to know about these things, we need to know about the kind of climate that students of color, specifically black students, are dealing with while they are on campus.”
Black Students for Revolution is also demanding that the U of I create harsher punishments for racist acts, such as expulsion.
“It’s just a question of: Is the university willing to protect and make black students feel comfortable and safe on campus?” Stewart said.
A statement from U of I spokesperson Robin Kaler said the only additional information that will be released regarding this case will be the results of the investigation.
She said the university does not condone acts of intolerance, bias or prejudice and said University Housing professionals are available to aid students in accessing support services.