East Carolina University says authorities could not determine whether a rope found last month in a residence hall was in fact a noose or not.
The rope was found September 22nd in the basement of Belk Residence Hall. Members of the Black Student Union met with university leaders this week to express their concern over what happened.
ECU says it completed the investigation and says the rope was untied by students before officers arrived so they could not determine how it was originally tied.
Campus police say they interviewed students who live in Belk and reviewed security tapes in the area where the rope was discovered.
The university says other pieces of similar material was also found throughout the basement.
ECU News Release
GREENVILLE (Oct. 5, 2007)—East Carolina University officials today announced the completion of an investigation into the report of an alleged noose found in the basement of Belk Residence Hall last month.
Todd Johnson, interim vice provost for student life, said the investigation by ECU police included interviews with students who live in the hall, a review of surveillance tapes from security cameras in the area, and a thorough examination of the entire basement of the building. Police spent more than 100 hours on the case.
ECU police were unable to conclude whether a noose had been found, according to Johnson. The rope had been untied by students before investigating officers arrived on the scene minutes after a report was called in by a student on Sept. 22, Johnson said. A piece of rope was found at the scene, but pieces of similar material were found throughout the basement, he said.
Chancellor Steve Ballard said that despite the inconclusive nature of the investigation, the university takes seriously the concerns that students have expressed this week.
“East Carolina University has zero tolerance for intimidation or harassment in any form,” Ballard said. “We intend to use this incident as a springboard for serious discussion of diversity issues throughout the campus. We remain unconditionally committed to the principles of diversity and inclusion across the university.”
Johnson said that the Office of Student Affairs, along with the Office of Institutional Diversity, will launch a new program to engage students from different races and ethnic groups to talk about race relations in an academic setting. He said that the first part of this series will be offered in Belk Hall next week.