A Duke student admitted to placing a noose on a tree on the campus on Wednesday during an investigation into the incident, the university said in a press release on Thursday.
"The student is no longer on campus," the release said, and "will be subject to Duke's student conduct process." He has not been expelled, the school's spokesperson, Keith Lawrence, told BuzzFeed News.
The incident triggered concerns of racial intolerance and led hundreds of students to march in protest on Wednesday. Duke University Police and the school's Office of Student Affairs began investigating the incident.
The school said it would continue to determine if other students were involved in the incident. Duke is also cooperating with state and federal officials about "potential criminal violations," according to the press release.
The student's motives in placing the noose are unclear. Lawrence said the school is "not at a point where we can speculate why he did what he did."
A noose was discovered hanging from a tree at Duke University in North Carolina early Wednesday morning.
The noose was found at the Bryan Center Plaza sometime past midnight on Wednesday, according to the Duke People of Color Caucus Tumblr.
The Bryan Center houses Fraternity and Sorority Life among other offices.
The incident comes two weeks after a group of white male students allegedly targeted a black female student with the racist Sigma Alpha Epsilon chant, according to the Caucus, which was also sung by SAE members from the University of Oklahoma last month.
"This campus is not a safe space, and has proven beyond any doubt that it is a hostile environment for any and all black people," the Duke POC Caucus said on Tumblr.
The noose was removed sometime prior to 2:45 a.m. on Wednesday, The Duke Chronicle reported.
Two police officers were at the scene speaking to concerned students after the photo emerged on social media.
"I can't begin to describe the disgust and anger I felt, and still feel," Vice President of Student Affairs, Larry Moneta, said in an email sent to students this morning.
The email provided to BuzzFeed News reads:
I was awakened early this morning with the news that a noose was found hung on the Bryan Center plaza. I can't begin to describe the disgust and anger I felt, and still feel. Though it has since been removed, the photos are everywhere and its hateful message will sadly pervade and persist for a long time.
To whomever committed this hateful and stupid act, I just want to say that if your intent was to create fear, it will have the opposite effect. Today, fear will be among the reactions students, and especially, students of color, will have. Be assured that the Duke community will provide all the support necessary to help us all get through this. In time, each of these cowardly acts of bias and hatred will strengthen our resolve to love and support each other.
Appropriate investigations are underway and if we're able to identify any responsible for committing this act of intimidation, they will be held fully accountable.
Campus police referred comment to university officials.
Duke officials confirmed there was an ongoing investigation, while the school's president, Richard Brodhead, and other faculty are scheduled to meet with student leaders to discuss the incident.
University and student leaders will meet at a forum at 5 p.m. on Wednesday on the steps of Duke Chapel, Duke Today reported. Speakers will include President Richard Brodhead and Provost Sally Kornbluth among others.
The East Campus Council also organized an event for first-year students called "Chalk the Walk" where students would fill a traffic circle with supportive words and messages on campus.
Hundreds of students marched on the Duke campus protesting the incident.
Thumbnail image via Duke POC Caucus Tumblr