SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — The University of San Francisco on Wednesday is investigating a disturbing incident at a student dorm where a noose was found hanging off a balcony.
Two Black USF students spotted a noose hanging from a 4th floor balcony at the University of San Francisco’s Loyola Village Residence Hall on Anza Street last week on March 30th. They said the noose could be seen throughout the courtyard of the building.
“Nothing that they could have said could’ve prepared me to open that email and to actual read through and see a picture of that noose,” said President of the USF Black Student Union Brianna Johnson. “When he was taking the noose down, he was laughing, not taking things seriously while black students looked on horrified.”
Even with only 220 students on campus currently amid COVID-19 restrictions, the noose was seen by many and made an impact on the university population.
“She’s not surprised about it,” Vonda Page said of her daughter, who attends USF. “I’m not surprised. We’re not surprised about the university’s response.”
“It is a hurtful incident. It is a shameful incident in so many ways because of the potent history of the noose in the United States. It’s a symbol of domestic terror and it was used as a form of physical terror to lynch,” sad USF Vice Provost Mary Wardell Ghiraduzzi.
The university said the student behind the noose has been removed from the dorms. There has already been one hearing in his case, but he hasn’t been expelled or publicly named.
“We are bound by the Department of Education — the U.S Department of Education I’m talking about — and the legislation of FERPA which is the right to privacy that students at any college or university has. So we’re not going to be able to release the student per that federal mandate,” the Vice Provost said.
The USF Black Student Union has demanded that the student behind the noose be named and expelled among other demands
Johnson told KPIX identifying the student is a matter of safety for the USF student population, only six percent of which is Black.
“If we don’t know who he is, we don’t know if he shouldn’t be in the spaces. We don’t know how to identify him, we don’t know if we are ever going to be potentially put into danger because of his presence, anything like that,” said Johnson.
She said she and other Black students on campus don’t feel supported at the Jesuit school.
“I feel in some ways USF is tokenizing Black students,” said Johnson. “Like they’re putting us up front on these brochures about diversity, but when we say we have real concerns about being here or we’re fearful of this, we’re having ‘x’ problem, we’re always met with no real resolution, no action plan, no follow up.”
While only six percent of USF’s current student population is Black, the incoming freshman class is 12 percent Black — the highest percentage ever.
USF parent Vonda Page says the incident and response are disappointing and upsetting.
“That puts all the black students in physical and emotional harm as well,” said Page. “And I think it’s really pathetic and sad and really actually a disgrace that a Jesuit university wouldn’t have more concern over the humanity of Black people.”