An education advisor visiting Stanford University last week reported finding a noose hanging from a tree near a residence hall housing summer students, many of whom were minorities.
Cheron Perkins, an advisor for an educational organization that was holding a program for high school students on campus, tweeted about the experience the following morning and criticized Stanford police for taking more than an hour to respond after she reported the incident.
“I don’t know how to feel right now but I’m definitely concerned and want justice,” Perkins, 24, wrote.
Last night I saw this on @Stanford campus omw to my dorm. It took the Stanford police over an hour to respond to the situation. I also called the 911 operator and was told “this isn’t an emergency.” I don’t know how to feel rn but I’m definitely concerned and want justice. pic.twitter.com/EeJP0AlC3k— Dr. Joce Girl (@CheronTiana_) July 13, 2019
Perkins, who lives in New Orleans, works with high school students who are interested in pre-med studies through Envison, a company that offers learning experiences to students, some of whom are minorities.
Perkins said that roughly 85% of the program’s staff of 20 who were at Stanford’s campus are African American. The staff moved into the dorm on July 1, and according to Perkins, they were the only black people on the block. Group members think the noose was targeting them. She said she didn’t recall seeing the hanging rope before Friday.
“We as African Americans would not travel down a path where we thought people were targeting us,” she said. “It’s frightening for an African American and for minority students in that program to see something like that.”
The summer program gives high school students 10 days with the staff of Stanford’s department of emergency medicine. It finished Sunday.
“We are taking this very seriously and are providing extra overnight security for our scholars,” Envision tweeted to concerned parents following Perkins’ account. “The safety of our scholars and staff is always our first priority. We will be in touch with you directly as well to hear and address your concern.”
Deputies with Stanford’s Department of Public Safety described the noose as approximately 3 feet long and one-fourth to one-third of an inch in diameter, with a loop at one end. The university said it is investigating the noose as a suspicious circumstance but may reclassify it as a hate crime if additional evidence is discovered.
“While we await further conclusions from the investigation, we feel it is important to state that a noose is recognized as a symbol of violence and racism directed against African American peoples. Such a symbol has no place on our campus. Our community values affirm the dignity of all peoples and call upon us to strive for a just community in which discrimination and hate have no presence,” Stanford’s senior director of media relations, E.J. Miranda, said in a statement.
Perkins said that Stanford has not contacted her or other program members who saw the noose, despite repeated attempts to reach officials via social media.
“I’m highly upset with the way this case is being handled. I don’t ever want to step foot on Stanford’s campus again,” she said.
Several racist incidents have occurred at schools throughout California in recent months. In Palmdale, a group of elementary school educators posed with a noose in a photo that was shared widely in May. That same month in Palos Verdes, two high school students posed behind a “promposal” poster that spelled out the N-word. And at the University of La Verne, members of a student diversity group said they were threatened with racist slurs in March.
While the overall number of hate crimes decreased in California in 2018, incidents targeting Latinos and Jewish people surged.