USF NAACP chapter meets to discuss noose

Robert Irvin doesn’t believe claims that a rope found hanging from a tree outside Magnolia Apartments could have been a swing.

“(Police) say they’re not finding any forensic evidence, that’s bulls–,” Irvin, a former Detroit police officer said. “If you could find fingerprints, you could find wood chips in the rope if it was a swing.”

Irvin was one of about 20 members who attended a USF NAACP chapter meeting Tuesday to discuss whether they believe the rope found Jan. 30 was “malicious or a harmless mistake.”

Some Magnolia residents at a meeting Monday night said the rope was originally used as a swing. Some students said they didn’t know what to think of the rope or whether they should be concerned, while others say they consider it a racist symbol.

“This has definitely had a psychological impact on students,” said Xavier Johnson, first vice president of the NAACP USF chapter. ” We are definitely getting together to look in on this.”

Before the NAACP releases a statement to USF administration and The Oracle later this week addressing the incident, president Dara McCoy wanted members to have a chance to voice whether they believe it’s an accident or a symbol for lynching.

Freshman Terrance Lee said he saw the rope as a symbol of racism.

“It lets you know racism still exists,” Lee said. “It has its different forms, and society has its different opinions.”

“I wasn’t surprised; I wasn’t shocked. This is America, and even though USF is known for diversity, we still have some ignorant people on campus,” sophomore Thelmarie Gunter said.

But another member said she doesn’t want to put the blame on any students because it could have been anyone of any race.

Otis Coliny said he has concerns about why students didn’t find out about the rope until Friday if it was hanging there during the week.

“Isn’t it important enough to know if something could have happened?” Coliny asked. “If we’re doing something to upset a group of people … next time will there be a neck in the rope?”

According to a University Police report released Jan. 30, the noose was found at 4 p.m. that day. On Jan. 25, a Magnolia resident assistant told students — who tied the top of the rope to the limb of a tree to be used for a swing — to remove it.

UP said they are interviewing students who have knowledge about the rope’s original existence as part of their ongoing investigation.

Esque Dollar, president of the Black Student Union, said the only way students will get answers is if they continue to press administration about the incident.

“We can’t just let this die once this door closes and we adjourn,” Dollar said.