University of Maryland police are investigating a knotted piece of plastic wrap resembling a noose found in the 7500 block of Route 1, near Fraternity Row.
The wrap was found lying on the ground Tuesday, and reported to university police by two passers-by, according to a statement released to the campus community via email Tuesday night.
The statement made no mention of the wrap’s shape. It noted that police were called “out of concern for possible hate-bias,” but did not say whether the matter is being investigated as such.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are looking into this matter and conducting a review of our cameras in the area,” the email read.
Students expressed concern about the incident on Twitter, with some alleging that police initially dismissed the wrap as trash.
— Jaime Hurtado (@Protect_UMD) June 27, 2017
They didn’t even try to entertain me and my friend by acknowledging the possibility that this was a symbol of hate. They were very adamant. https://t.co/VAdKIp7z0H
— Malik (@mwalterrs) June 27, 2017
The incident comes amid a surge of hate bias issues on the campus.
The stabbing of black Bowie State University student Richard Collins in May is being investigated as a hate crime.
In May, following Collins’ death, university president Wallace Loh announced plans to combat hate bias incidents, among them a “rapid-response team” made up of students, faculty and staff who would provide support to hate incident victims and a task force that will evaluate hate incident policy at this university.
The discovery of a noose in a campus fraternity house on April 27 is also under investigation as a hate bias incident. University Police did not send a campuswide email addressing the incident until May 12, while this incident was reported via email on the same day it occurred.
White nationalist posters have also been found on the campus in at least five reported instances since December.