(BALTIMORE) — A noose was found Thursday at a construction site in an off-campus building owned by Johns Hopkins University, per Karen Lancaster, a Johns Hopkins University spokeswoman. Lancaster said the construction site is a part of ongoing renovations of the Whiting School of Engineering building in Baltimore. She called it a “heinous symbol of hate.”

The job site has been shut down until further notice, Daniel Ennis, Johns Hopkins University’s senior vice president for administration and finance, said.

“Johns Hopkins University condemns this act of hate,” the university’s president Ronald J. Daniels said in a message Friday to the university community. “We find such racist imagery horrifying and repugnant and a direct threat to the Black community at Johns Hopkins and in Baltimore, standing in stark opposition to the values of equity, justice, and humanity to which we are firmly committed.”

Johns Hopkins referred the potential hate crime to federal law enforcement and launched its own investigation, led by the Office of Institutional Equity. University officials are coordinating their actions with Plano-Coudon, the contractor that notified the university about the noose and has offered its full cooperation and support.

“We take this matter extremely seriously,” said Ennis. “We have shut down this job site until further notice and will do everything within our power to make sure our community is free from hate and intimidation. Acts like this have no place in our society. We encourage anyone with information about this incident to contact Campus Safety and Security at 410-516-4600.”

“We know that incidents like this — wherever they happen — can cause or reinforce trauma for members of our community, especially our Black and Brown colleagues, students, and faculty,” said Katrina Caldwell, Johns Hopkins University’s vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. “That this has happened at a moment when there has been such pain over racially motivated violence means we must lean in and offer the support our community needs now and that we must become better, more informed allies in the urgent work that needs to be done to fight against racism in all its forms.”

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