Noose found in University of Maryland College Park frat house

University of Maryland, College Park police are investigating a noose found in a fraternity house last Thursday as a hate incident.

Police said the noose was found in Fraternity Row's house 5, which is home to its Phi Kappa Tau chapter, according to the university's website. The noose was found around 1:30 p.m.

Police are investigating the matter as a hate/bias incident.

Matt Supple, the director of the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life at the university, said in an email to fraternity and sorority leaders that the noose was found hanging in the house's kitchen and that it had affected the fraternity members and the housekeeping and catering staff who worked at the house.

"It might be easy to assume the perpetrator is a member of the fraternity, but we must let the police investigation determine who is responsible," he wrote. "This is a diverse organization whose members are deeply impacted by this event; a chapter that has demonstrated a commitment to creating an inclusive environment within their chapter and a safe space for the many men of color in their membership."

UMD President Wallace Loh called the incident "despicable" in a statement Wednesday.

"I resolutely condemn the use of a symbol of violence and hatred for the purpose of intimidating members of our University of Maryland community," Loh said. "All of us —students, faculty, staff, alumni — stand united in our commitment to core values of human dignity, diversity, inclusiveness, and intellectual freedom. We stand against such craven expressions of bigotry."

Rep. Steny Hoyer, the Southern Maryland lawmaker, said he was appalled by the UMD incident.

"This outrageous act of hatred and prejudice, as well recent actions on the campus of American University, must not be tolerated, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice," he said. "No student should feel unwelcome or uncomfortable on campus."

On Monday at least five bananas with nooses were found hanging from trees and lampposts around the American University campus in Washington. The FBI said Thursday that it is assisting a hate-crime investigation opened by campus police.

An earlier version misstated the day of the incident. The Sun regrets the error.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

cwells@baltsun.com

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