Michigan State Launches Investigation Into a Shoelace Mistaken For a Noose

ashley.rae | October 5, 2017
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A stray shoelace on the Michigan State University campus being mistaken for a noose led to an investigation and a strong condemnation by the university president and a police investigation.

In a statement on the “racial incident” at a residence hall on Oct. 4, MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon applauded a student for the “courage” she displayed by reporting an item she found outside her room. The statement also claimed an investigation was being conducted by the MSU Police and the Office of Institutional Equity.

Simon also condemned the “noose”— which, again, was later found to be a shoelace — as a “symbol of intimidation and threat that has a horrendous history in America” that “is not tolerated on our campus”:

I want to be clear: This type of behavior is not tolerated on our campus. No Spartan should ever feel targeted based on their race, or other ways in which they identify. A noose is a symbol of intimidation and threat that has a horrendous history in America.

After the investigation was conducted, however, MSU spokesman Jason Cody issued another statement saying the police have determined the item was a “packaged leather shoelace and not a noose.”

In a new updated statement, Cody said she rushed to action because the school “takes any reported racial incident very seriously.” Cody also added the school “continues to provide support to the students involved”:

As we did in this case, the university takes any reported racial incident very seriously. We feel it is important to quickly communicate what we know to the campus community and provide updates as necessary. MSU continues to provide support to the students involved.

Cody also clarified that the person who lost the shoelace lived on the same floor as the person who reported the incident and did not intend harassment.

In 2015, the University of Delaware launched a hate crime investigation over paper lanterns on campus. At Bowling Green State University, a student reported lab equipment in a window as a Ku Klux Klan meeting, while a stray banana peel triggered the cancelation of a Greek life event at the University of Mississippi earlier this year.

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