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Six rainbow-colored nooses were found on campus the week of April 18. Photo credit: Contributed Photo

Nooses cause national controversy

The APSU community was shocked last week to learn of the appearance of six rainbow-colored nooses in front of the Trahern fine arts building.

This is not the first instance of nooses or racial tension on campus.

This most recent instance was marked by APSU reaching national headlines in The New York Times, VICE News and The Washington Post, among others.

The student who made the nooses has not been named and she released a statement saying she had no social or political intentions with her project.

“My intention with my sculpture project was to convey the cycle of death and rebirth that comes with the arrival of spring,” the statement read. “I had no social or political statement in mind. I cannot apologize enough for the pain my artwork has caused.”

Campus Safety removed the nooses after 45 minutes of deliberation on April 18, after deeming the nooses a safety and public welfare issue.

President Alisa White, Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing Bill Persinger and Chief Diversity Officer David Davenport hosted an open forum for three hours on Thursday, April 21, in an attempt to answer all of the community’s questions regarding the nooses.

This is not the first time racist symbols have made an appearance on campus.

In 2003, APSU Police investigated a noose hung from a tree in front of the MUC Plaza on Oct. 19, according to past reports from The All State.

The noose was reported to police and university officials two days later on Oct. 21.

Previous University President Sherry Hoppe said the noose was a threat to APSU’s search for a “welcoming” campus.

“I want to personally reaffirm the university’s position on this matter,” Hoppe said in an email following the events. “Our goal at APSU is to have a campus climate that is welcoming and comfortable for all.”

According to the past reports, police interviewed potential witnesses but they do not indicate whether or not an arrest was made.

Two years later, in 2005, a Spider-man doll was hung from a tree outside the MUC.

According to the Feb. 9, 2005, edition of TAS, what seemed to start as a prank became more sinister after witnesses like Cindy Nugent, a student at the time, said the doll looked racially-influenced.

“It did not look like a Spider-man doll to me when it was knocked down,” Nugent said. “It looked like a black guy with his hands behind his back bound in electric tape.”

The doll was found on Jan. 31, and it was removed the same day.

Hoppe again sent out an email in response to the doll, saying the university was contacting the Montgomery County District Attorney, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the FBI to aid in the investigation.

This TAS report did not indicate an arrest was made.

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