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UD officials say items found outside Mitchell Hall not a hate crime

University of Delaware officials say they don't believe items found hanging from a tree on campus are part of a possible hate crime.

A student found what appeared to be three makeshift nooses hanging from a tree outside Mitchell Hall Tuesday night.  University police this morning say that based on their investigation overnight the items were in fact remnants of paper lanterns from an event previously held on The Green.

"Thanks to tips from students who responded to the University’s earlier call for information and the investigative work of the Police Department, the determination was made that this was not an act of hatred," the University said in a statement.

The statement also included pictures of the items found Tuesday night and the lanterns that were in the tree earlier his month.

The University responded quickly overnight to concern about the items that looked like nooses.


University police quickly removed the items as pictures of them taken by students were being shared social media.


Acting University president Nancy Targett released a statement condemning the what was was thought to be a hate crime as a "cowardly and reprehensible" designed to intimidate and frighten, and calling "unacceptable."


In its statement Wednesday morning, University officials defended that response.


"The safety and inclusiveness of our campus are our top priorities and we will always act quickly and decisively to respond to the concerns of our community," read the statement.


The University adds that it still plans to address the incident at a campus event at 4:30 pm Wednesday on The Green.


"The sensitivity of our campus to this potential issue clearly indicates a need for ongoing dialogue within our community," said  The University in its statement.

The incident occured  just a day after some students peacefully protested protest a speaking appearance at UD by Fox commentator Katie Pavlich, who called the #BlackLivesMatter movement a "violent hate crime."


Pavlich was speaking to a student gun rights group on campus. 

adds a campus wide gathering to address the issue is being planned Wednesday but details have not been worked out yet.

University police are asking anyone who saw something suspicious on The Green between

dusk and 10 pm to call them at 302-831-2222.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.