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K-State Today

May 8, 2017

Why a noose is unwelcome on our campuses

Submitted by President Richard Myers

Last Friday, a beautiful spring day was marred by an ugly symbol found on our Manhattan campus. Near Mid-Campus drive, a noose was found hanging from one of our specimen trees. The juxtaposition between ugliness and beauty could not be more profound.

While we do not know the intent of the person who placed the noose, the effect on the K-State campus was immediate. Once reported, the noose was quickly removed, but not before it was seen by many on campus, including families visiting for Junior Day. It is a poor reflection on our campus community when a well-known symbol for hatred shows up in such a public way.

There may be some who do not understand the emotional impact of a knotted cord in the shape of a hangman's noose. According to the Anti-Defamation League: "The hangman's noose has come to be one of the most powerful visual symbols directed against African-Americans, comparable in the emotions that it evokes to that of the swastika for Jews."

If we have those in our K-State family unaware of the power of these negative symbols, it falls on all of us to teach each other. If you don't understand, please reach out to one of our African-American students, faculty or staff to ask why this act is intolerable.

Once again, we cannot let the acts of a few define all of us. The K-State family needs to unite in our voice against all forms of discrimination. Hopefully as we contemplate these disgusting acts and the impact they have on our family, we'll grow stronger in our commitment to treating all the K-State family with dignity and respect.

Richard B. Myers
Kansas State University