Two unidentified people found the tangled, frayed strip of plastic lying partially on a sidewalk near fraternity row, reports The Diamondback, the University of Maryland student newspaper.
The people who found the plastic wrap took it for a noose and hastily reported it to campus police “out of concern for possible hate-bias,” according to statement released by school administrators.
“Preliminary investigation reveals that this type of material is used to contain loose items during transport,” the report also said, according to Campus Reform.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are looking into this matter and conducting a review of our cameras in the area.”
On Twitter, some students said they are upset because police have concluded that the plastic wrap on the ground is not a noose-shaped instrument of “hate-bias” but is instead merely a piece of litter.
According to The Diamondback, another Twitter user — who appears to have since deleted the tweet — said: “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.”
Last month, Richard Collins III, a black Army lieutenant who was preparing to graduate from nearby Bowie State University, was stabbed to death at a University of Maryland campus bus stop in the wee hours of a Saturday morning.
A suspect, Sean Christopher Urbanski, was later arrested for the murder of Collins. Urbanski’s alleged motive is unknown.
Following Collins’s death, University of Maryland president Wallace Loh announced the formation of a “rapid-response team” — staffed by professors, administrators and students — which will comfort alleged hate-crime victims. There’s also a task force.
The last few months have seen a smattering of noose sightings and alleged noose sightings in the state of Maryland.
The student newspaper also notes that posters promoting white nationalism have appeared five times on the University of Maryland campus since December.