Illinois student charged with hate crime after noose found hanging in dorm elevator

The student at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found rope in an elevator over the weekend and tied it into a noose, authorities said.

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By Janelle Griffith

A 19-year-old student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been charged with a felony hate crime after a noose was found hanging in a residence hall elevator Sunday.

Andrew Smith.Champaign County Sheriff's Office / via AP

Andrew Smith was arrested at about 9:30 p.m. Monday after he was questioned by authorities at his residence hall on College Court in Urbana, the university police said in a statement.

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He was charged with committing a hate crime, which is a felony, and a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.

During an arraignment Tuesday afternoon, Champaign County Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Alferink said Smith found some rope in an elevator in Allen Hall over the weekend and tied it into a noose.

About 1 a.m. Sunday, staff at Allen Hall found the noose hanging inside an elevator in a public area of the building. A female friend who was with Smith in the elevator Sunday reported him to authorities, Alferink said.

Smith pleaded not guilty Tuesday and was released on a $5,000 bond. He requested a trial by jury.

Preliminary charges might change as court proceedings move forward, according to the university police.

Smith's attorney, Audrey Thompson, declined to comment on the charges Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reported. She said during the hearing that the sophomore has enough credits to graduate this year and has a GPA of 3.79, according to the newspaper.

Smith is due back in court on Oct. 22.