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'Noose' found in university hospital sparks hate crime allegation. Turns out employee was practicing tying a fishing knot.

Dean of medical school had called it 'symbol of hate and discrimination'

Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

A month ago the outrage seemed palpable.

"Yesterday, in one of our hospitals, a noose — a symbol of hate and discrimination — was found at the work station of two of our employees," Dr. Marschall Runge — executive vice president for medical affairs and dean of the University of Michigan Medical School — said in a June 21 email to employees, MLive reported.

Runge wasn't through: "We have taken immediate action to have this investigated as both an act of discrimination and a criminal act of ethnic intimidation," he added. "This act of hate violates all of the values that we hold dear and will not be tolerated."

With that, the office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience was made available to those who experienced "distress" over the incident, MLive also said.

Oops

But it turns out it wasn't a noose or a hate crime, University of Michigan police said, according to a follow-up MLive report.

UM's Division of Public Safety and Security conducted an investigation and determined that an employee on a break actually was practicing tying a "Uni Knot," which is used in fishing, with spool rope used for medical procedures, the outlet said.

After the spool was returned to the storage area, the knot was still in place and discovered the following day, MLive added.

The rope is typically used for traction after surgical procedures, DPSS Director of Strategic Communications Heather Young told the outlet, adding that the loose end of the rope was tied in the knot while still connected to the spool.

"It was a case of (the rope) getting moved by several different people," Young also told MLive, adding there was no evidence to indicate a bias crime was committed.

What did the medical school dean have to say after the investigation?

Runge said that even though apparently no hate crime was committed, many were emotionally affected, the University Record reported.

"Our community came together to support each other, reaffirmed our stance against hate, and began having open dialogues about this incident and ways to make our community more inclusive," Runge said in an email to the Michigan Medicine community, the Record noted.

"We continue to stand strong as we make it clear to all that this organization — its leaders, faculty, staff and learners — fiercely values and defends equality, inclusiveness, respect and dignity for all, and the elimination of discrimination and intimidation in all forms," he added, according to the Record.

(H/T: The College Fix)

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