Authorities are still investigating three University of Mississippi frat boys who put a noose around a symbolic statue of James Meredith, the first African-American student to attend the university.
The three students already are facing charges of vandalism and further investigations could lead to charges for a hate crime as well.
None of the students, whose identities have not been released, have been cooperative with investigators and have instead sought out legal counsel.
“Working through an adviser the students, university police had arranged a meeting for Thursday morning but the students did not appear as promised,” University Police Department Chief Calvin Sellers said.
University police are now working with the FBI to further the investigation of the three teenagers from Georgia.
In addition to placing the noose on the statue, the boys also tied an old Georgia flag with the Confederate battle emblem on it around the statue.
The students were members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity but have since been expelled from the fraternity.
“It is embarrassing that these men had previously identified with our fraternity,” SigEp CEO Brian C. Warren said on Saturday. “For this to occur in 2014 is an insult to the legacy of James Meredith, the University of Mississippi community, and the SigEp alumni who fought for racial equality in the late 1950s.”
The university also decided to indefinitely suspend the fraternity.
The lack of cooperation from the suspects resulted in authorities from the university offering a $25,000 reward for information that could lead to an arrest.
In order for the students to be hit with charges for a hate crime investigators need to find more information regarding the intent of putting the noose around the statue and prove that the actions also served as a threat to other students.
According to the man who found the vandalized statue last Sunday there is no question about why the boys did what they did.
“I came up on a couple younger-looking boys by the loading dock that were yelling ‘white power’ and ‘f**k n*****s’ on my way back over towards the statue,” the man said. “When I rounded the corner of [the George Street House], I noticed the rope and the flag, and it definitely showed the Confederate flag.”
State authorities have also been involved in the investigation and hope to determined whether or not criminal charges will be applicable in this case.
Students at the university have been rallying against racism on the campus since they heard news of the incident.