URBANA, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A 19-year-old student has been charged with a hate crime after a noose was found hanging in a dorm elevator at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Andrew M. Smith was arrested Monday evening in a dorm and charged with a felony hate crime count and a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, University of Illinois police said in a statement.
Police said the charges may be amended as court proceedings move forward.
About 1 a.m. Sunday, staff at Allen Hall reported finding a rope tied into a noose hanging inside an elevator in a public area of the building, police said. Smith was later identified as the person who allegedly placed it there, police said.
On Monday, the university publicly announced the incident and said it was reported to the university’s “Housing bias response team” and will be shared with the university’s “Bias Assessment and Response Team” for review.
“The start of the school year can be very stressful, and University Housing professionals are on staff and available to students to make sure everyone knows how to access support services if they feel overwhelmed,” university spokeswoman Robin Kaler said in a statement.
Smith appeared in court Tuesday and was given a $5,000 bail, the Champaign County sheriff’s office said. Smith’s next court date has not been set.
In January, three black employees at U. of I. Urbana-Champaign sued the school, claiming they were frequently subjected to racial slurs and offensive stereotypes. The lawsuit claims they were subjected to “threats of racial violence, such as nooses, swastikas, KKK garb, racist graffiti, and confederate flags.”
The case is pending in federal court in the Central District of Illinois.