DURHAM, N.C. – Duke students marched on Wednesday afternoon after a noose was found hanging from a tree on campus Tuesday.
The students chanted, “We are not afraid. We stand together.”
Sophomore Henry Washington serves as vice president of the Black Student Alliance at Duke.
He took a photo of the noose after finding it around 2 a.m. after being alert via Twitter.
“It was tied from this branch. It was just like a rope tied to the top of the tree hanging down, just like a noose,” Washington said. “I initially tried to brainstorm what else could this be? What else could this mean?”
President Richard Brodhead told the thousands that gathered that their presence was a rejection of that symbol. And he said that while administrators and campus police investigate who displayed the noose and why, it is up to each individual to reject racism.”One person put up that noose, but this is the multitude of people who got together to say that’s not the Duke we want,” he told the crowd. “That’s not the Duke we’re here for, and that’s not the Duke we’re here to create.”
Meanwhile, a top Duke University official reacted with disgust after learning a noose was found hanging in Bryan Center Plaza.
“I can’t begin to describe the disgust and anger I felt, and still feel,” Duke University Vice President of Student Affairs Larry Moneta said.
The noose was removed from the Bryan Center, but Moneta had a message to the person or person responsible.
“To whomever committed this hateful and stupid act, I just want to say that if your intent was to create fear, it will have the opposite effect. Today, fear will be among the reactions students, and especially, students of color, will have,” Moneta said.
Moneta said an investigation was underway. He said when those responsible are identified, they will be held accountable.
The university and student leaders held a forum Wednesday on the steps of Duke Chapel to discuss the incident and other recent allegations of racism. Recently, another student reported being taunted with the n-word.
Sophomore Erika Foreman told WNCN she isn’t comfortable on Duke’s campus.
“I’m uncomfortable on my own campus and it’s really unfortunate,” Foreman said. “I actually contacted my parents and they’re even scared for my safety.”
Moneta said that the Duke University community would provide support to those struggling with this news. Meanwhile, the university’s provost Sally Kornbluth said she’d make it a priority to listen to the concerns of African-American students and to increase the dialogue around racism in classrooms campus wide.
Anyone who needs help is asked to call CAPS at 919-660-100, DukeReach at 919-681-2455. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Duke Police at 919-684-2444.
Copyright 2015 WNCN. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this article.