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Penn State Faculty Members Allegedly Experience ‘Very Serious’ Hate Incident

Update, 3 p.m.: Police are no longer investigating an alleged hate incident reported by two Black Penn State faculty members.

Tyler Jolley, Patton Township’s chief of police, said his department received a call Monday after the faculty members found a rope hanging in a small tree near their house, describing it as a noose. Police collected the rope and returned to the neighborhood Monday afternoon to ask neighbors about any suspicious activity.

One neighbor said the rope was likely from a nearby swing set, which officers confirmed. One of the neighbor’s children said they’d thrown the rope into the woods. Police later determined no crime was committed when the rope made its way into the faculty members’ yard.

Original Story: Penn State President Eric Barron released a statement Tuesday afternoon offering support after two Black faculty members reported an alleged, “very serious” hate incident outside their home.

The faculty members, who respectively work in Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts and the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, reported the alleged incident to local law enforcement and said it was “deeply distressing” to them and their family.

Barron said local jurisdictions will handle the case, but it’s not clear where the incident allegedly occurred or what might have transpired. The university’s own police also offered their own resources to help in the investigation, according to a statement.

“The incident underscores the importance of our anti-racism work as a University, and as a community of scholars,” Barron wrote. “It also underscores the importance of our town-gown work to build a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all who live here.”

Onward State reached out to both State College and Patton Township’s police departments for more information. Both did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Students, employees, and community members can report acts of bias and hate by calling Penn State’s hotline at (800) 560-1637 or visiting the university’s online tip form.

We’ll update this post with more information as it becomes available.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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