Published On: Wed, Sep 4th, 2019

University of Illinois student Andrew Smith charged with felony hate crime after leaving a noose in the elevator

A University of Illinois student who tied a noose and left in a residence hall elevator has been identified as Andrew M. Smith, who was charged with a felony hate crime on Tuesday.

Smith, 19, of Normal, was arrested Monday and charged with finding and tying rope into a noose in an Allen Hall elevator over the weekend, according to Champaign County Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Alferink.

Alferink said Smith told university police that he “only spent about 30 seconds thinking about his actions” and that even after checking social media, didn’t think his actions were serious enough to turn himself in.

He pleaded not guilty and Judge Roger Webber released Smith on a $5,000 bond. His next court date was set for Oct. 22.

University spokeswoman Robin Kaler said students in the hall on the Urbana campus reported finding the noose early Sunday.

Their find quickly blew up on social media and, seeing that, a woman who says she was with Smith when he tied the noose reported him to school authorities.

“The university does not condone acts of intolerance, bias, or prejudice,” Kaler said in a statement Tuesday. She said support staff are available for students who feel overwhelmed because of the noose.

Andrew Smith

Black students at the university expressed anger and said the university needed to get tougher on those who commit hate crimes and incidents of racial bias, WILL Illinois Public Media reports.

In a statement to WILL, the student organizations Black Students for Revolution and Black United Front demanded that the university regularly publicize all reported incidents of racism.

“We don’t want it hidden from the students, hidden from the campus,” Black Students for Revolution member Kayla Stewart told WILL. “We need to know about these things, we need to know about the kind of climate that students of color, specifically black students, are dealing with while they are on campus.”

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- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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