According to KMOV4, Andrew Smith, 19, found some rope in the elevator in Allen Hall over the weekend and tied it into a noose, Champaign County Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Alferink said during the arraignment.
Once the news of the noose broke, an unidentified woman came forward, saying she was with Smith when he tied the noose, reporting him to school authorities. Alferink said Smith told university police that he “only spent about 30 seconds thinking about his actions.” The Normal, Illinois native also didn’t think his actions were serious enough to turn himself in despite the social media backlash.
University spokeswoman Robin Kaler said, “the university does not condone acts of intolerance, bias, or prejudice,” Kaler said in a statement Tuesday. She said support staff are available for students who feel overwhelmed because of the noose.
Judge Roger Webber set the 19-year-old’s bond at $5,000 during his Tuesday arraignment after pleading not guilty. Another hearing has been scheduled for October 22.
The hate crime follows a class-action lawsuit filed by Black employees against the campus, claiming they faced racial harassment and were “exposed to threats of racial violence, such as nooses, swastikas, KKK garb, racist graffiti, and confederate flags.”