A University of Illinois student has been charged with a hate crime after a noose was found in a residence hall elevator.
Andrew M. Smith was arrested on Monday evening for a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct and a felony count of committing a hate crime. According to reports, staff members of the Allen Hall dorm reported the discovery of a rope tied into a noose early Sunday morning at the Urbana-Champaign campus.
Once the news went viral, an unidentified woman came forward, saying she was with Smith when he tied the noose, reporting him to school authorities. Champaign County Assistant State's Attorney Kristin Alferink said Smith told university police that he "only spent about 30 seconds thinking about his actions." The Normal, Illinois native also didn't think his actions were serious enough to turn himself in despite the social media backlash.
Judge Roger Webber set the 19-year-old’s bond at $5,000 during his Tuesday arraignment after pleading not guilty. Another hearing has been scheduled for October 22.
The hate crime follows a class-action lawsuit filed by Black employees against the campus, claiming they faced racial harassment and were “exposed to threats of racial violence, such as nooses, swastikas, KKK garb, racist graffiti, and confederate flags.”