The belt of a bathrobe was found tied in the shape of a noose in a laundry room of a residence hall at Cal Poly last weekend, according to an email President Jeffrey Armstrong sent to students and faculty Wednesday.
The email said that it isn’t clear to officials what the tie found in the Santa Lucia residence hall was intended to mean, if anything.
The hangman’s noose has become a key symbol of hate targeting African-Americans and its effect is similar to a swastika for Jews, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The noose is a reference to the American history of lynching used by white people to control African-Americans.
Armstrong, in his email, addressed the campus climate and what he called “racial ignorance,” as well as mental health.
“We have much work ahead of us in our ongoing effort to create a safe and welcoming environment for all members of our community. I also want to underscore that pain can be inflicted on others both intentionally and through racial ignorance,” Armstrong said.
Without knowing the purpose of the tie, Armstrong said is may indicate that someone is struggling with mental health issues, suggesting that it might have been a call for help from a someone suffering from suicidal thoughts.
“We urge that person to talk with someone,” the email said.
The email ended by directing students to talk to a Coordinator of Student Development (CSD) Rachel Smith at rsmith81@calpoly or 805-756-5631 or to obtain counseling services available for all students at 805-756-2511.