There’s turmoil at a college in Alabama after a student has been suspended for hanging nooses on a campus tree, and an employee was fired after posting a racist tweet in response to the incident.
Officials at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Ala., said the student was suspended and banned from campus pending a hearing after confessing to hanging two nooses and a bicycle outside a dining hall Tuesday night, according to AL.com.
— AL.com (@aldotcom) September 26, 2018
Police determined the student acted alone, University President Tony Waldrop said Wednesday in a statement posted on the Mobile, Alabama school’s official Facebook page.
“I want to thank the University community for providing information that enabled the USA Police Department to bring this unfortunate matter to a close,” Waldrop added.
The student apparently used a rope that previously held up a sheet sign a day before to make the nooses, campus spokesman Bob Lowry told AL.com. The student’s name has not been released.
Meanwhile, there are mixed reactions on campus about the incident.
“Campus police and the president both said that the rope was used to hang banner sheets, but who uses a thick rope with a loop to hang those? We use string,” student Dasia Hedrick told AL.com on Thursday. “It’s disrespectful, and maybe it wasn’t a noose, but the intentions were clear.”
“If it wasn’t nooses and just the remnants of a sign why did the school suspend the student?” said Brianna Pickering, a student who was walking near to where the nooses were found. “It doesn’t make sense.
“I think campus police maybe said that it was not a noose to make sure people feel safe here and don’t want it to feel racist, because this is a very inclusive and safe school,” Pickering added.
Amid the fallout, an Aramark employee was fired Wednesday hours after posting an offensive tweet on the school’s dining hall official Twitter account. Aramark is the school’s food service vendor and manages the Twitter account.
“The rope outside of the caf last night was just a sign that our food is KILLER! Come get some fried chicken and tell us any different,” said the now-deleted tweet, AL.com reports.
Aramark apologized and said in a statement that “We have zero tolerance for any form of racism or discrimination.”
In a tweet, the South Alabama Student Government Association echoed a similar sentiment. “We encourage everyone to stand firmly against discrimination and rather stand together in unity we share,” the tweet said. Campus officials say it will offer staff training to try to avoid similar incidents.
The Student Government Association is sympathetic to the students affected by the recent events and supportive of all students at the University of South Alabama. We do not promote any acts of discrimination, hatred or intolerance towards any students. pic.twitter.com/YKdkCRHfCh
— South Alabama SGA (@usa_sga) September 26, 2018
Meanwhile, the Mobile County NAACP said in a statement that this is “a circumstance many of us feels immediate attention considering America’s history and Mobile’s history.”
In 1981, Michael Donald’s body was found hanging from a tree in Mobile that was committed by the Ku Klux Klan that has been often cited as the last documented lynching in the United States.