Stanford University is investigating reports of a noose found hanging near a campus residence hall, CNN reported.
In a statement, the university’s Department of Public Safety said deputies found a white rope, about 3 feet long, suspended from a large bush Friday. The noose, a symbol of racial violence and intimidation against African-Americans, was discovered near a dorm for summer students.
“My immediate thought was nothing but fear because I’d never seen a noose,” said Cheron Perkins, a medical student who took photos and video of the rope. “I was just distraught.”
Perkins, who’s from New Orleans and works as an adviser to high school students in the program, told NBC Bay Area that most of those involved in the summer session are minorities, and she thinks the noose was meant to send a message.
A program assistant who also saw the noose said it left her “terrified for her life.”
“I called my mom, and she was ready to put me on a plane back home,” the assistant, who asked to remain unnamed, said. “You just don’t know who is hanging around and what their actions might be, and we had the most minorities of all the summer camps.”
For now, the incident is being investigated as a “suspicious circumstance,” however, Stanford officials said could be re-classified as a hate crime upon further review.
“While we await further conclusions form the investigation, we feel it is important to state that a noose is recognized as a symbol of violence and racism directed against African American peoples,” the university said in a statement. “Such a symbol has no place on our campus.”
The noose has since been removed.
Campus authorities said the incident remains under investigation.