Duke officials are investigating an incident in which a noose was found hanging in the Bryan Center plaza around 2 a.m. Wednesday.
In an email to students Wednesday morning, Larry Moneta, Duke’s vice president for student affairs, wrote, “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. Be assured that the Duke community will provide all the support necessary to help us all get through this. In time, each of these cowardly acts of bias and hatred will strengthen our resolve to love and support each other.
“Appropriate investigations are underway and if we’re able to identify any responsible for committing this act of intimidation, they will be held fully accountable.”
Moneta urges anyone struggling with this news and needing support, or who has information about the incident, to contact support staff at: CAPS, 660-1000; DukeReach, 681-2455; or Duke Police, 684-2444.
University and student leaders have scheduled a forum for 5 p.m. Wednesday on the steps of Duke Chapel to discuss the incident. Speakers will include President Richard Brodhead, Provost Sally Kornbluth, as well as faculty and student leaders.
In an email to students, faculty and staff Wednesday afternoon, Brodhead and Kornbluth wrote, "Our campus has been jolted over the past few weeks by several racial incidents, including a report of hateful speech directed at students on East Campus and, early this morning, the discovery of a noose on the Bryan Center Plaza. As individuals, and as a university, we deplore these actions in the strongest possible terms. Today we ask you to help us demonstrate to our African-American students, faculty and staff, and indeed the world, our solidarity and unity in the face of cowardly acts of hatred by attending a university-wide forum at 5:00 in front of Duke Chapel. The two of us, along with students and faculty, will give voice to our concerns and show the community that can come together at this challenging time. We hope you will join us."
Also, the East Campus Council has organized an event for first-year students called "Chalk the Walk,” where students fill the traffic circle between Marketplace and Lilly Library with supportive words and messages. It is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Marketplace on East Campus.
The Mary Lou Williams Center will be a gathering place for students beginning at noon today, and members of CAPS will be present. The Center for Multicultural Affairs will also be open and staffed until at least 10 p.m. for students who want to talk about this topic. In addition, the CAPS staff posted a statement on its website that reiterates "our pledge of support to our students and the campus community."
On Wednesday afternoon, about 300 people, including members of the Black Student Alliance, marched from the West Campus bus stop to the Bryan Center plaza in response to the incident, chanting, "We are not afraid. We stand together."