Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee has launched a study after six nooses were found hung on a campus tree included in an art project.
On Monday, multiple people filed complaints with campus security after seeing the nooses close to the Trahern Fine Arts Building. Reportedly, each noose would be a different color, appearing to be arranged within the pattern of a rainbow. Campus police removed the nooses \”out of interest of hate symbolism and its potential impact on campus.\”
The school determined that the nooses were a display by a painter as part of an introductory course focusing on yarn being an art medium. Lori Mitchell of ABC News reports the project\’s display had not been reviewed or authorized by the instructor.
\”The incident is deeply disturbing and is hurtful to our university community,\” said Alisa White, the university\’s president. \”Regardless from the intent, the display doesn\’t have place on our campus. I\’m saddened, and I am sorry for that hurt and offense this has caused and desires our students, faculty, and staff to know that it will not be tolerated.\”
The artist claims that no message of hate toward LGBQT or African American students was intended. The student claims the display was meant to represent the cycle of death and rebirth in the arrival of spring. The government Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has investigated the incident and spoken using the student and instructor. They have found no evidence of a hate crime.
The student has since expressed regret over staging the display, saying, \”I did not take into consideration that nooses are racially charged symbol. For that I am sorry. I cannot apologize enough for that pain that my artwork has created.\”
According to Max Kutner of Newsweek, the incident gained national attention following the Instagram account for the university\’s chapter of the National Association for that Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) posted a photograph of the display. Students are planning a meeting with school officials within the matter.
Travis Loller from the Washington Times writes that some students remain skeptical concerning the claims that anyone wouldn\’t know nooses would invoke slavery, segregation, and lynching to many people. According to an Austin Peay report, 37% of their student body identifies as students of color, 19% of whom are?African-American. These students in particular have been jarred by the episode on the Clarksville campus.
Displays of nooses with racially charged intentions have appeared on campuses before. Officials at Duke University and also the University of Mississippi have responded to reports of nooses dangling from trees on campus. These episodes have rankled students and captured national attention.
\”While we offer the freedom of expression on our campus, we have to keep in mind there are symbols that have very specific and negative meanings to everyone, especially if context isn\’t provided,\” President White added in her statement. \”I am deeply sorry for that impact this has had on our campus community, and we will learn from this and ensure something like this does not happen again.\”