PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A symbol of hate was found on the Oregon Health & Science University campus Thursday—a noose. This was the second time a noose has been found on a Portland school campus in the last two weeks.
It was found looped over a construction cone. OHSU school officials said it was in a secure area near one of their research buildings, and that they are trying to figure out who put it there.
Campus police documented it and then quickly removed it.
OHSU’s President and interim Vice President of Human Resources released the following statement:
“OHSU strongly condemns the posting of a noose on our campus. This action is abhorrent, and we recognize that this symbol can be traumatic to members of our community. We regret any distress it caused and acted quickly to remove it. OHSU does not tolerate harassment or intimidation of any kind. We embrace a culture of inclusion and encourage employees, patients, visitors and students to speak out against such acts. Harsh consequences are imposed for anyone at OHSU who by word or action is hostile to others. Anyone who witnesses harassment or discrimination at OHSU is encouraged to report it.”
Two weeks ago, another noose was found at Chapman Elementary in Northwest Portland. That noose was found in an area where only maintenance and custodial staff have access to.
KOIN 6 News spoke with Randy Blazak, the Chair of the Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crimes.
“It might just be a noose to some people, but to some people it represents 200 years of terrorism—that’s a very powerful symbol,” said Blazak.
There is a new Oregon law that addresses bias crimes called Oregon Senate Bill 577.
“We have this new law that is unfolding as we speak, and it will provide resources for people who are experiencing these hate incidents that are crimes or not crimes,” said Blazak.
At OHSU, campus police have reviewed surveillance footage. Yet, the cameras did not capture the specific area the noose was found in. Officers are also reviewing who accessed the building with badge reader data. University officials said there are harsh consequences for those who are hostile toward others, and they encourage anyone who has witnessed harassment or intimidation to report it.
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story as it develops.