A spokesperson for Johns Hopkins University says that a noose was discovered at a construction venue in one of the university's buildings, and now the school has shut down the job site.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the noose was discovered at a construction site in the Steiff Silver Building.
Plano-Coudon, the construction firm renovating the university's engineering laboratory, told university officials on Friday that one of its employees discovered the noose at the site on Thursday.
University officials are calling the finding a "potential hate crime," according to the outlet, and have referred the case to federal law enforcement for investigation.
Spokesperson Karen Lancaster said that the school has also launched its own investigation through the school's Office of Institutional Equity.
Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels issued a statement on the finding.
"Johns Hopkins University condemns this act of hate," he said in a Friday statement. "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."
In an emailed message to the Hopkins community, Daniels also added, "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."
Katrina Caldwell, the school's vice provost for diversity and inclusion, as well as chief diversity officer, issued a lengthy statement of her own.
"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," she said. "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."
The situation is apparently so serious that Daniel Ennis — Johns Hopkins University's senior vice president for administration and finance — shut down the job site until further notice.
In a statement, Ennis said, "We take this matter extremely seriously. [We] 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."