Unfortunately, human history is replete with examples of mass hysteria where the only guilt assigned was guilt by accusation. The latest instance very well could be at a certain Middle Atlantic university whose various teams have been assigned the moniker of a violent female chicken.
As reported by NBC News, and the new media outlets The Daily Caller and Fusion.net, all on Sept. 23, 2015, the University of Delaware, home of The Fightin’ Blue Hens, saw students, faculty and certain media outlets all addressing none-too-subtle “nooses” hanging from a tree on the campus Green. Without fail, accusations of apparent white racism mixed with a heavy dose of additional accusations of university honchos not caring about minority students were hot and heavy on both social media as well as news organs.
The catalyst for the hate crime steamroller was when Fox News contributor and Townhall.com editor Katie Pavlich was invited to the campus by Students for the Second Amendment last Monday evening. Taking the stage at UD’s Mitchell Hall to express her support for gun rights laws, Pavlich quickly found her speech disrupted by approximately 80 #BlackLivesMatter protesters who gathered together in front of the hall while she spoke.
According to Fusion.net’s Charles Pulliam-Moore, after Pavlich’s speech had ended, “a group of black students noticed something hanging from a tree on the Green near Mitchel Hall: a noose haphazardly swinging from the branches. ‘When I looked closer, I saw what looked like two metal hangers in the shape of nooses hanging from the tree and a third string that had nothing attached to it,’ Harry Lewis, a Delaware student, told me. ‘I immediately posted pictures of them and called the police.’
The concerned also took it upon himself to spread the word just as quickly as humanly possible. While in the process of taking to Twitter, Lewis upped the number of “nooses” he saw on the Green. In a tweet that has since been deleted, Pulliam-Moore published a screen grab of the tweet in question prior to deletion:
Somebody hung three nooses outside of Mitchell. Shit’s getting real dangerous.
— Harry A. Lewis (@halewis_) September 23, 2015
As noted by The Daily Caller reporter Blake Neff, student Gerti Wilson told Delaware Online, “I’ve been called the n-word multiple times. I’ve dealt with a lot of racial BS at this campus, but never, never in my wildest imagination did I think in my last year here … that in the middle of the night I would run up to a tree with three nooses hanging up there.” Another student, Morgan Franklin, said she broke down in tears at the horrible sight, and claimed it proved “my safety is not a concern” on campus.
The UD Police Department was hot on the case, sending out a mass e-mail campus-wide: “UD Police are investigating a racist display found outside of Mitchell Hall tonight and it is being investigated as a hate crime.” The UDPD’s declaration of a “racist display” was issued before the investigation was completed.
Yet it turns out that the UDPD wasn’t the sole official to brand the offending wires as racially motivated. “Such cowardly and reprehensible acts are clearly designed to intimidate and frighten, and they are unacceptable on our campus,” wrote University of Delaware President Nancy Targett in another campus-wide e-mail. “These hateful acts stand in stark contrast to the peaceful protest and discussion held near the same spot just one day earlier.”
President Targett took to the internet today to update all concerned that the police investigation had been concluded and the findings to be made public. As it turns out, the alleged “nooses” were actually the wire remnants of paper Chinese Lanterns used at a previous gathering on The Green.
Doubling down on the racist narrative, Targett’s Wednesday update: “Thanks to tips from students who responded to our earlier call for information and the investigative work of University of Delaware Police, it has been determined that the three noose-like items found outside Mitchell Hall were not instruments of a hate crime, but the remnants of paper lanterns from an event previously held on The Green.”
Curiously, Targett claimed that “three noose-like items” were hanging from the offending branch. Even upon a cursory glance, one of the “noose-like items” was clearly just a piece of string. Another “noose-like item” appeared more like an open-ended letter “V” than an oval, while the closest of the three of the “noose-like items” actually resembled more of an inebriated rectangle than a noose.
Despite no evidence of hate symbols, covert matriculating Klansmen on campus, nor a conspiracy by university officials to disregard the safety and security of black students, President Targett may have tripled down on her bigotry run amok talking points. As she tweeted:
Nancy Targett @NancyMTargett
It was not a hate crime–however, I believe it’s still a time for dialogue. Meet me on the Green 4:30pm http://ow.ly/Sz4hK #VoicesofUDel
9:19 AM – 23 Sep 2015
No pun intended, but Targett’s tweet opened her up to be the target of many who responded to her social media message. Case in point would be the following from someone who goes by the nom de internet of The Morning Spew:
The Morning Spew @TheMorningSpew 12h12 hours ago
@NancyMTargett talking about your dumbassery would be an excellent start. #VoicesOfUDel