Three objects found hanging from a tree on the University of Delaware’s Green in Newark were not nooses or evidence of a hate crime as first suspected, school officials said Wednesday morning, but remnants of paper lanterns left after an event.
Critics immediately dismissed that conclusion as “a cover-up.” UD officials had initial condemned the apparent hate crime.
“I just believe UD doesn’t want an uproar on campus,” said Keith James, president of the Voices 4 the Voiceless community advocacy group.
James said he and others do not believe UD’s account and said photos the university released showing paper lanterns on a tree “don’t prove anything.”
Acting UD President Nancy M. Targett announced the finding in a statement and released the photos early Wednesday morning. The university did not say what event used the lanterns, but that it occurred earlier this month.
“Thanks to tips from students who responded to our earlier call for information and the investigative work of University of Delaware Police, it has been determined that the three noose-like items found outside Mitchell Hall were not instruments of a hate crime, but the remnants of paper lanterns from an event previously held on The Green,” Targett said in the statement, also posted on UD’s website.
The statement also quoted UD Police Chief Patrick Ogden saying, “I am confident that we have determined the origin of these items.”