MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The University of South Alabama’s administration says when campus police initially investigated possible nooses in a tree, all they saw were ropes.
It says sorority girls later called the police department saying they untied the ropes because they were offended.
After a picture showing two nooses and a bike in a tree went viral Wednesday, the university’s administration sent an email saying it was just rope to hold up a sign.
But later, the school says it suspended a student for putting “two nooses” up outside the dining hall.
“If you see something say something, but if you say something do something and our community did that,” said Chief Zeke Aull of the University of South Alabama Police Department.
Dean of students, Dr. Michael Mitchell, says between the two emails being sent, the sorority girls told the department they didn’t mean to tamper with evidence, they just untied the nooses because they were offensive.
“I think that now that we know there are members of a sorority that actually did undo the nooses by the time campus police arrived, I think students will understand that statement now,” said Doctor Mitchell.
The school suspended the male student who admitted to hanging the nooses, claiming they were ‘Halloween decorations.’
“He did not understand the bigger picture. You know, we did talk about that and now I think he has a better understanding,” said Chief Aull.
But the suspended student’s excuse that he didn’t know what the nooses meant, along with the university’s excuse about how the situation was initially handled, isn’t something students believe.
“I don’t think they should have lied at first because clearly they know what happened but it is what it is,” said Maurice Strong, a USA student.
Another student, William Elliot, echoed the same message to News 5.
“I don’t believe him. You know what you’re doing when you tie a noose and hang it in a tree. It’s obvious, you put it there, you knew what it was before you put it there before you did it.”
Campus police say the suspended student will be arrested if he steps foot on campus before a disciplinary hearing, which hasn’t been scheduled.
The results of that meeting could range from probation to even expulsion.