On the evening of Sunday, May 8, a noose was found in a tree outside Branner Hall, an undergraduate residence. It seems several years ago ropes were tied to a tree for a performance by a student organization. The ropes were never removed from the tree. This evening it was discovered that one of the ropes had been made into a noose.
A noose is a hate symbol, representing a threat to life, used to intimidate and threaten the Black community and other people of color. In the state of California, hanging a noose is considered a hate crime and punishable by jail and/or a fine.
What is being done:
Updated as of 5/12/22 at 2:55 pm
DPS is working with ResEd to contact each resident of Branner and Toyon by email, seeking leads. DPS also reminded all students via the Stanford Report newsletter that investigators continue to seek leads.
Updated as of 5/10/22 at 7:30 a.m.
Support for community members has been arranged as follows:
Black CAPS “Let’s Talk” Student Hours. Students can schedule time using the Vaden patient portal or drop in to be scheduled by BCAPS directly. All sessions below will take place inside of the Black House.
Wednesday, May 11
Dr. Katie Ohene 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Bianca Aaron 2 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 12
Dr. Cierra Whatley 3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Friday, May 13
Bianca Aaron 10:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Black Staff Alliance and the Faculty Staff Help Center are co-sponsoring a monthly drop-In group for Black faculty, staff, and postdocs. The next meeting will take place on Thursday, May 12, from noon – 1:15 p.m. via Zoom and in person. Register here.
President Marc Tessier-Lavigne shared a message regarding the incident with the community via The Stanford Report.
Updated as of 05/09/22 at 2:40 p.m.
Here is what DPS is doing at this time:
- Investigators are reaching out to grounds maintenance staff for any available information about the tree in question and material that might have been left in the tree.
- DPS, in coordination with Student Affairs and Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) staff, is reaching out to dining hall staff, professional and student staff, and residents in an effort to identify possible witnesses and to narrow down the time frame for the incident.
- Anyone with information that could be of help in the investigation of this crime is asked to contact DPS at the main office (650) 723-9633 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or Dispatch Center at (650) 329-2413 (24/7).
- Evidence was collected at the scene.
Here are next steps to support the Black community:
- Black CAPS staff will hold “Let’s Talk” sessions at Black House later this week about this incident and any other concerns. Information is to be distributed by BCSC soon.
- The Black Staff Alliance will hold space virtually on Monday afternoon for staff to process this incident
- The Office for Religious and Spiritual Life (ORSL) offers care and counseling by spiritual leaders.
Here are next steps for moving forward:
- The university will work toward a protocol and culture of removing ropes from trees, including ropes positioned for the purposes of outdoor activities such as rope swings, frisbee golf or theatrical productions
Updated as of 05/08/22 at 11:30 pm
The Stanford University Department of Public Safety (DPS) was alerted immediately, responded immediately, and has since removed the noose and retained it as evidence. An investigation is underway. The campus community has been notified.
The matter is being investigated as a hate crime. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact DPS at (650) 723-9633 or the department’s 24/7 communications center at (650) 329-2413.
At this time it is not known if this was done by a member of the Stanford community or by a non-affiliate. If it is discovered that a Stanford student may have been responsible then the matter will be investigated as a Fundamental Standard violation under the Judicial Charter. Other forms of accountability (criminal or penal code) could apply to both students and non-students.
University staff filed two Protected Identity Harm reports. The process is centered on collecting data and providing connection with staff who can respond and help reduce the impact of the harm.
The Black Community Resource Center (The Black House) serves as Stanford’s primary resource for the Black community. The staff are aware of the incident and ready to support students as needed.
What to do:
- If you have any information that may assist in the investigation, call DPS at (650) 329-2413 (24/7) and ask to speak to an investigator.
- If you experience bias or discrimination, please file a Protected Identity Harm report.
- Students needing assistance are invited to reach out to these mental health resources and faculty/staff can reach out to the Faculty Staff Help Center.
- If you are seeking information to better understand more about the racial pandemic in this country, check out curated Black Lives Matter resources and support.