UMD students hold protest after noose is found in fraternity house

by Michael Solomon, Staff Writer

A noose was found at the Phi Kappa Tau chapter house on the campus of the University of Maryland late last month. According to reports, a black chef who was part of a catering crew found the noose hanging in the kitchen and reported it to the university. Police are currently investigating the case as a hate-bias incident.

Many students are outraged, not only at the terrible incident, but also at the fact that they were notified about what had happened almost a full week after the fact. Campus authorities allegedly only sent out an alert to the presidents and leaders of the fraternities at the university.

A student led coalition called ProtectUMD led a march and sit in on campus this past Wednesday following a racist incident that occurred on campus last month. It goes without saying that this was not the only topic of conversation during the march. The administration has tried to reassure its students, in efforts to attract as little attention as possible. UMD President Wallace Loh condemned the noose incident in a message to the school and the public.

“I resolutely condemn the use of a symbol of violence and hatred for the purpose of intimidating members of our University of Maryland community,” Loh said in a written statement. “All of us — students, faculty, staff, alumni — stand united in our commitment to core values of human dignity, diversity, inclusiveness, and intellectual freedom. We stand against such craven expressions of bigotry.”

ProtectUMD also had a meeting with the school’s administration to try and prevent further racist incidents on campus, but say that their concerns were not taken as seriously as they should have been.

“Everything we had to say, it was not a collaborative environment at all,” said Lauryn Froneberger of ProtectUMD in an interview with Fox 5 News. “It was kind of like we would make a comment, we would get a smirk or we would get a laugh under their breath or something like that. We didn’t feel welcome is my point. We didn’t feel welcome in that space, and we didn’t feel like the university administration that puts itself out there publicly to support us wasn’t supporting us. I don’t understand why.”

Racial incidents at the University of Maryland have occurred on many different occasions in the recent past, and students are beginning to lose their patience. Despite attempts from the administration to calm students down, many are unsatisfied with the school’s efforts to stop racism on campus.

“This isn’t the first hate incident that we’ve had on campus. We’ve had chalkings, a student reported that there was God hates ni***** in one of the bathrooms,” said another senior at UMD.

This problem, however, is not exclusive to the University of Maryland, but is a part of a much broader issue. Fraternities on campuses across the country have built themselves a firm reputation for racial insensitivity. From “blackface” parties and “Cinco de Drinko” celebrations, to fake banana nooses being hung up at American University.

“I’m not surprised,” said 21 year old Maya Lovell to the Washington Post, “It’s a continuous theme that goes on with fraternities and sororities on campus whether it’s a noose or American used bananas or that email that went around a couple years ago. … It’s the same old thing.”

For many, it seems like racial tensions have only gotten worse over the past few months, and people are desperate for a solution.

Taylor Dumpson, the first female African-American student body president at American University, spoke out against the racist incidents occurring on her campus, and also offered an explanation of sorts.

“Cross-cultural communication is the key,” said Dumpson. “Because we aren’t in a post-racial society. But I think the way to move towards a better society, and a more inclusive society, is to really focus on and appreciate the differences among us. Because what makes us different is very, very important.”