Stanford University Launches Investigation After Noose Found on Campus

Stanford University officials are investigating after finding a noose hanging from a bush on campus.

Counselors from a summer camp found the noose by their dorm on campus on July 12, public safety told KNTV. Cheron Perkins, an advisor from the program, told the news station that she had never seen a noose before, and it scared her.

"My immediate thought was nothing but fear because I'd never seen a noose," Perkins told the news station. "I was just distraught. I got on Southwest and started looking for a plane ticket."

Perkins, a medical student at the university, said that many students in the summer camp program are in high school and are minorities. The advisor told KNTV that she felt like the noose was a message directly to them. The university has named the incident a “suspicious circumstance,” but it could be reclassified as a hate crime pending the investigation, KRON reported. In a tweet, Perkins wrote that the response from university police was disturbing to her, claiming that the officers took over an hour to respond and reportedly stated that the incident “wasn’t an emergency.”

“It just didn’t sit well with me,” Perkins told KGO. “I felt very uncomfortable about the whole situation. And then once we talked to the police, and they just said, ‘Oh well we took it down.’ No, there needs to be more done than just taking it down.” The noose has since been removed from campus and the university said its Acts of Intolerance Protocol will be handling the incident. The North Star has reached out to the university for comment but did not hear back in time for publication. In a statement to The Mercury News, the university said that the noose had no place being on its campus.

“While we await further conclusions from the investigation, we feel it is important to state that a noose is recognized as a symbol of violence and racism directed against African American peoples,” the statement read. “Such a symbol has no place on our campus.”

Those with information about the incident are urged to contact the Stanford University Department of Public Safety at 650-329-2413.

This is not the first incident where a noose was found in a California school. In May, a principal and four teachers were placed on administrative leave after a photo of the teachers posing with a noose went viral. The racist photo was taken in a classroom at Summerwind Elementary School in Palmdale, California, the Los Angeles Times previously reported. The photo was shared on social media without a caption and was reportedly taken by the school’s principal, Linda Brandts. Palmdale School District Superintendent Raul Maldonado wrote in a statement on the district’s Facebook page on May 8 that the educators were placed on leave and the incident was under investigation.

“I am appalled that this incident occurred. I am committed to the Palmdale Promise’s values of equity, integrity, and multiculturalism, and I know that most of the district believe in the same values the Promise upholds,” Maldonado previously wrote. “We will not allow the hurtful actions of a few hold back our district’s pledge to do right by our community.”

The photo sparked outrage among parents and led to parents pulling their children out of school for a few days. “We are disgusted. Absolutely disgusted,” Breyan Clemmons, a parent whose child attended the elementary school, told the publication. “We drop our kids off with the idea that we are sending them to a culturally competent institution for learning. We think that we’re sending them to a school; they’re safe. Never do we think we’re sending them to a plantation where they got nooses hanging up, and holding on to nooses. Taking pictures and smiling, where’s the humor?”

Hate crimes have been on the rise and have increased 17 percent in 2017, according to the 2017 FBI hate crime statistics. The statistics found that 59.6 percent of the victims of hate crimes were targeted because of their race, ethnicity, or ancestry. The data also revealed that out of the 5,060 people who were targeted based on their race, ethnicity, or ancestry, 48.6 percent of those victims were involved in anti-Black or African American bias.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.