USF President Judy Genshaft said, if found, the perpetrators responsible for hanging a rope fashioned into a noose outside Magnolia Apartments last week would be “swiftly dealt with” by the university’s judicial system.
Genshaft’s comments were released in a statement Friday in response to discovery of the noose found hanging in a tree outside Magnolia Apartments one week ago.
“Campus police are vigorously investigating this incident, using every resource at their disposal in the effort to find those responsible for this deplorable act,” she said.
The noose incident comes about a year after the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had to be removed from the memorial plaza outside the Phyllis P. Marshall Center for repairs after it was vandalized.
Both incidents took place in February, which is Black Emphasis Month at USF.
The noose is not being treated as a hate crime, police say, until they can gather more information on the motivation behind the act. The MLK bust incident was not treated as a hate crime because there was no violence committed against an actual person.
“As members of the USF community, we have a duty to go beyond mere tolerance of diversity and difference. We must appreciate diversity in our hearts, encourage it in our relationships, and defend it in our actions,” Genshaft said.
Following Genshaft’s statement Friday, vice president of the Black Student Union Quinton Armstrong says he was disappointed that the president took so long to respond to the incident. Armstrong added that he felt that she didn’t respond until she had to.
“I understand she has a university to run, but if she doesn’t know what is going on, maybe she shouldn’t be president,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong says the response should have come in a more timely manner. He says the incident with the noose was far more serious than the MLK bust incident.
“Let’s stop being politically correct and let’s just start to be real,” he said.
There will be a meeting at 8:00 tonight in the Magnolia Room open to anyone who wishes to attend. According to a phone message sent to Magnolia residents on Saturday, the meeting will address Magnolia administrators’ knowledge of the incident and what actions will be taken as a result. It will also be a forum for more residents to voice concerns, the message said.