Toilet paper noose found at Michigan State dorm; MSU said it was a prank

Posted at 4:27 PM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 20:32:11-04

(WXYZ) — Students at Michigan State are upset after the university said a noose was found hanging on the door in a dorm was a prank.

It happened over the weekend in Bryan Hall when two African American students reported the toilet paper on the door resembling a noose.

Wisdom Henry is one of the few African American students who live in Bryan Hall.

"I take offense to that because a noose is not a Halloween prank, it's a hate crime," Henry said.

The university responded and said after initial discussions, students came forward and said they taped the up the toilet paper, calling it a Halloween prank and saying it wasn't meant to resemble a noose.

The school said, "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," MSU Black Student Alliance President Sharron Reed-Davis told WLNS.

MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. M.D., responded to the incident with the below letter to students and alumni.

Dear Spartans,

Our community has been affected in the past several days by incidents causing concern and anger.

I, too, am concerned, because a safe, inclusive and respectful campus is my top priority. Hate has no home at Michigan State. We want every individual to feel welcomed, valued and heard.

Recently the greater campus community has experienced vandalism at MSU Hillel, our center for Jewish student life; the presence of U.S. Customs and Border Protection on campus last week for a presentation to a class; an instance of racial bias reported from Bryan Hall over the weekend; and a survey in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences that offended students.

Some of these actions may not have grown from negative intent or malice, but it’s important for us all to remember the difference between intent and impact. Regardless of intent, there is still an impact being felt across campus.

These situations have disrupted a sense of safety that should exist for everyone. Building inclusive communities is at the core of our values, and the impact of recent events cannot be underestimated.

I want to personally let you know the concerns of our campus community are being taken seriously. Investigations by both the MSU Police Department and our Office of Institutional Equity are taking place, and we are providing support to those who are affected. We will be responsive to these issues and will not ignore the effect they are having on our community. It is important to hold ourselves accountable for being respectful, culturally sensitive and informed.

Any member of the MSU community found responsible for a bias incident will face disciplinary action in accordance with university policies.

Tonight, the Black Student Alliance is hosting a community forum in collaboration with the Associated Students of MSU to discuss some of these issues and their impact. Having a forum for discussion and listening is important if we want to create change.

In the coming months, I will continue to work with students and others in the campus community as we undergo a strategic planning process, including an emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion. Your feedback will be critical to this plan moving forward.

I want all Spartans to reach their full potential, educationally and professionally. That starts with an inclusive, safe environment here at MSU. We all have purpose in being here, and we need to engage one another with dignity and respect.


Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.