Johns Hopkins condemns racist act near campus

July 3, 2020

Dear Johns Hopkins Community:

I am anguished to be writing you with some very distressing news.

Yesterday, a rope tied into a noose was found in a construction site of a Whiting School of Engineering lab in an off-campus facility, the Stieff Silver building near the Homewood campus. We have referred the incident to federal law enforcement as a potential hate crime, and we are conducting our own investigation as well, led by the Office of Institutional Equity.

The noose stands as a deliberate symbol of the murderous terror of thousands of lynchings perpetrated against Black people in America since the beginning of this nation. It is a singular and terrifying image that through to the present traumatizes and dehumanizes millions of Black people.

Johns Hopkins University unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms condemns this act of hate. We find such racist imagery horrifying and repugnant and a direct threat to the Black community at Johns Hopkins and in Baltimore. Such an act stands in stark opposition to the values of equity, justice, and humanity to which we are firmly committed.

In recent weeks, we have been working with a number of our faculty, staff, and students to develop ways to deepen our own work against racism and in support of racial equity and inclusion, and we will communicate our next steps early next week.

At this watershed moment in America, the words of Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and our 2018 Commencement speaker, resonate powerfully: “We cannot heal the deep wounds inflicted during the era of racial terrorism until we tell the truth about it…Only then can we meaningfully address the contemporary problems that are lynching’s legacy.”

That is the charge we must take up in earnest, collectively and individually, in the days and months ahead.

We know that many will feel the pain and impact of an incident like this profoundly. The university is offering resources for support and healing, through MySupport for faculty and staff and for students through wellness.jhu.edu and its dedicated resources on racial trauma.

Thank you for your continued support and concern for one another now and always.

Sincerely,
Ronald J. Daniels