University of Illinois Student Charged with Hate Crime after Leaving Noose in Elevator

A University of Illinois student who committed a hate crime may now be facing serious jail time.

What we know:

  • September 1st around 1 AM a noose was found in an elevator on the University of Illinois’s Allen Hall on Urbana-Champaign campus. The incident quickly went viral on social media as angry students shared their frustration. 
  • Andrew Smith, a math major, was reported to school authorities as the person who tied the noose by a friend who caught him in the act. He was arrested Monday, September 2nd and arraigned on Tuesday on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge and a felony hate crime. He pleaded not guilty and was released on a $5,000 bond. His next court date is set for October 22.
  • This is not the university’s first racially charged incident. The university had a lawsuit from black employees who reported being subjected to racial slurs and threats, including nooses, Ku Klux Klan garb, racist graffiti, and Confederate flags.
  • Black Students for Revolution member Kayla Stewart says “We don’t want it hidden from the students, hidden from the campus, We need to know about these things, we need to know about the kind of climate that students of color, specifically black students, are dealing with while they are on campus.”
  • The school’s spokesperson Robin Kaler said: “The university does not condone acts of intolerance, bias, or prejudice.”

Many people are using this opportunity to condemned hate crimes and speak up about their experiences including Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.