UM Home >
UMNEWS > September 13, 2007
<- You Are Here
To Members of the University Community:
Late last Friday, it was reported to University Police that a rope that appeared to be tied as a noose was spotted in a tree near our Nyumburu Cultural Center, home to many of our African-American and multicultural student and staff organizations. No notes, scrawls or written messages have been found. An investigation of a possible hate crime commenced immediately, consistent with University policy, and I activated our standing Incident Response Team—a small team of University leaders who meet following any crisisto oversee the internal and external responses to the incident and ensure that key concerns are addressed.
I directed the team to take the situation seriously, to deploy all available resources to the investigation, and to help the community feel safe and supported through the investigation. The police investigation has been extensive. After completing dozens of interviews, reviewing hundreds of hours of videotape from nearby cameras, and examining the limited available evidence at the scene with the help of a federal forensics lab, no suspects have been identified. The police believe that the case will only be solved through leads gathered from the campus community about specific motives and/or responsible individuals.
The Incident Response Team has also focused on the concerns and needs of the community. In addition to a campus-wide crime alert that was issued within hours of the first police report, I also communicated directly with the entire University in the email message at this link: http://www.umd.edu/umnews/090807statement.html. Throughout the week, the team met with student and staff leaders from a variety of organizations, heard their concerns, and included them in updates on the status of the investigation. The student leaders arranged two open forums to provide a platform for others to express their concerns about the incident and related campus issues. Both meetings were well attended, and though heated, were also focused, and proactive. Members of the team provided organizational support to our student groups as we have worked through this week together. The constructive tone of the forums and the seriousness with which we have treated this possible hate crime have been evident in the subsequent media coverage.
I appreciate your strong concern in the face of this incident. Rest assured that we will continue to investigate it and keep the campus community posted on any new developments.
C. D. Mote, Jr., President
- In general, if you are concerned about safety, contact the UM Police Department (911 for emergencies; 301.405.3555 for non-emergencies).
- In general, if you feel you have been discriminated against, contact Roger Candelaria, Campus Compliance Officer, Office of Human Relations at 301.405.2839.
- In the residence halls, notify your resident assistant or resident director of an incident. They will immediately respond to the incident and provide you with further support.
- Any other concerns can be directed to Warren Kelley, 301.314.8431, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. Dr. Kelley can help you access a number of options and channels specifically designed to respond to hate incidents and harassment.