FBI investigates noose found in university-owned building

JHU has launched a review of its contractor policies to ensure compliance with university principles and reporting practices

Exterior of the Stieff Silver building depicts a brick building topped with a giant Stieff Silver sign

Image caption: Construction of the Stieff Silver building began in 1925

Credit: Dennis O'Shea

Johns Hopkins leaders provided an update to the university community Monday regarding a rope tied into a noose that was found earlier this month in an off-campus, university-owned building. The matter has been referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a potential hate crime, and the FBI has accepted the case. The university and a construction contractor, Baltimore-based Plano-Coudon, will continue to fully cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

The rope was discovered by a nonaffiliate at a construction site in the Stieff Silver building, a research facility located in Baltimore's Remington neighborhood where renovations of a Whiting School of Engineering laboratory are taking place.

"We recognize that this incident is more than just a matter for law enforcement," wrote Daniel Ennis, senior vice president for finance and administration; Bob McLean, vice president of facilities and real estate; Connor Scott, acting vice president for security; and Shanon Shumpert, vice provost for institutional equity. "It also demands that we take all necessary steps to support the Black members of our community who have been traumatized by this and other racist acts, and work to ensure that something like this doesn't happen again at a Johns Hopkins construction site or other university property."

After the rope was discovered, renovation work at the facility was paused to allow for the investigation to take place and to provide time for the university to work with the contractor to enhance its policies, training, and reporting practices related to discrimination and harassment. In this vein, the university has also launched a broad review of its contractor standards and policies to ensure racial justice for everyone working on Johns Hopkins premises.

"We wish to make clear that doing business with Johns Hopkins requires a strong commitment to these values and to tangible policies and procedures that give them meaning," the university leaders wrote.

The renovation work has now resumed at the Stieff Silver building.

Resources for support and healing are available to the university community through MySupport for faculty and staff and for students through wellness.jhu.edu. Anyone who has information about the Stieff Silver incident or other forms of discriminatory or unethical behavior are urged to report anonymously at 844-SPEAK2US (844-773-2528).

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