20-year-old Andrew Smith pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct for making a noose out of string and leaving it in a residence hall elevator. Smith told the state’s attorney’s office that he made the noose and hung it because he heard that the campus building was haunted.
What We Know:
- The incident happened last September 2019 and caused outrage among students on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. It quickly went viral on social media. The friend who was with him reported him to the police.
- Originally charged with a felony hate crime, the plea agreement allows Smith to have his criminal record cleared if he completes his sentence without further problems. The sophomore was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and a $75 fine.
- In a report from ABC News, Smith wrote “apology letters and appeared sincere,” State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, who filed the hate crime charge, said that police investigated and found that Smith had “no history of racial prejudice”.
- Nooses have long been a symbol of racial hatred. According to the NAACP, from 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States. Of these people that were lynched 3,446 were Black. Whites who were lynched were often killed for trying to help Black people.
Incidents such as these have occurred more often. Nooses have noticeably been appearing at many public schools, post-secondary institutions, and “even at a display about segregation in the National Museum of African American History and Culture,” for the past 5 years.