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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

University of Illinois student tied noose on campus, pleads guilty to disorderly conduct

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.

He further stated that in his mind he was only making a “knot,” that “just happened to be a racial hate symbol.”

READ MORE: Noose found in Molson Coors employee’s locker years before fatal shootings

The incident happened in September of 2019 and outraged 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.

University of Illinois
Engineering Hall & Everitt Lab Champaign-Urbana on the campus of the University of Illinois

At the time of the incident, the University of Illinois released a statement saying, “The university does not condone acts of intolerance, bias, or prejudice.” They also provided students with counseling.

Smith told university police that he “only spent about 30 seconds thinking about his actions” and despite the online outrage, Smith didn’t think the incident was severe enough to turn himself in.

According to 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.”

READ MORE: 12-year-old Mississippi girl is given racist doll with noose around its neck

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.

In the last five years, nooses have popped up at middle schools, other universities, and even at a display about segregation in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The post University of Illinois student tied noose on campus, pleads guilty to disorderly conduct appeared first on TheGrio.

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