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Rainbow nooses hanging from a tree, causes alarm on Tennessee campus

An art installation had both LGBT and African American college students on alert in Tennessee
Photo credit:
naacp.apsu Instagram

Some students on the campus of Austin Peay State University in Tennessee were disturbed over six hangmen’s nooses in the colors of the pride flag which hung over a tree branch on campus.

The F.B.I was called to investigate, some thought the symbol was a death threat to LGBT students. 

However, it was discovered that the display was a student's art project.

The artist didn’t take into account that they may not only be offending the LGBT community, but the African American students as well.

Many African American lives were lost to lynching in the South in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Police removed the installation saying that they didn’t know what to make of the brightly colored ropes.

“The police were very clear they didn’t understand if it was art or not art,” said college spokesperson Derek van der Merwe, “Based upon that it has to be viewed as a hate symbol and removed.”

The artist, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the purpose of the project was to symbolize the changing of the seasons and what they mean, nothing else.

“My intention with my sculpture project was to address the cycle of death and rebirth that is represented by the arrival of spring,” the student said. “I had no social or political statements in mind. I did not take into consideration that nooses are a racially charged symbol, for that I am sorry.”

The student did discuss the project with their art professor who was concerned about the theme. But the student went ahead and created the piece without his approval.

University President Alisa White was not happy with the sculpture either:

“This incident is deeply disturbing and is hurtful to our university community,” she said. “I am saddened, and I am sorry for the hurt and offense this has caused.”