When Salisbury University police discovered that someone drew a stick figure hung by a noose on the school library’s whiteboard, they launched a hate crime investigation.
But after realizing it was two black students who drew the picture – which showed the hangman crying, included the N-word with an arrow pointed at the stick figure, as well as the message #whitepower – they decided not to press criminal charges, The Delmarva Daily Times reports.
English Associate Professor James King told The SU Flyer that the school’s investigation identified the students responsible for the racist drawing, which was originally discovered April 10.
“I confirm two students have been identified,” he said, “and are both African American.”
Wow. I have no words. Whoever drew this in Blackwell is sick. This makes me angry as hell. pic.twitter.com/I3YwmgxkUW
— Bri. (@Briyaa) April 10, 2016
The Flyer explained how the racist image rocked the campus:
It is believed that the drawing was placed and found on the whiteboard around 5 p.m., and word about it started circulating when a picture of it was taken on Snapchat and sent out with the hashtag “#onlyATSalisbury” attached.
The picture was screenshotted and put onto Twitter and spread through text messaging.
Several students reacted to this photo on social media, including National Association for the Advancement Colored People SU Chapter Collegiate Activist Matt Jackson.
Jackson was one of the first to tweet about the photo under the Twitter handle
@MattJacksonDC, tagging SU, several of SU’s media groups and local media sources.
“So this is what we as students have to deal with @SalisburyU,” Jackson tweeted. “Mightas well call it ‘DIE’versity.”
Other students reacted to the picture, as well, including an SU student who claimed to have seen the drawing, herself.
“Wow,” @Briyaa tweeted, “I have no words. Whoever drew this in Blackwell is sick. This makes me angry as hell.”
She later tweeted, “That just ruined my whole mood. That board was in the room I just left from. Would loveeee to know who went in after.”
The scandal broke immediately after the school’s “Stop Hatin” week, an event led by the university’s student government to promote diversity and acceptance on campus and “break down the barriers that often arise through stereotypes and unrealistic perceptions,” according to a Facebook event page cited by The Flyer.
University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach issued a statement soon after the drawing was discovered about how the issue was being “taken seriously” and asserted that the school “will not tolerate this kind of language or behavior.”
The tough talk, however, reportedly will not translate into criminal charges, a decision school officials made in consultation with Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office, according to the Daily Times.
“The investigation is being turned over to the university and will be reviewed for any possible university policy violations, (school spokesman Richard) Culver” told the news site.
“Regardless of who created the drawing, we find such actions demeaning to all members of the campus community and against our core values,” SU vice president for student affairs Dana Foust said in an official statement provided by Culver.
Foust told The Flyer “consequences will depend on the outcome of the investigation,” which is apparently still ongoing.
“The University has a student hearing process which enforces its student code of conduct,” Foust said.