Christopher Casillas was up early Monday morning doing some work in his role as a resident advisor in Best Hall at Eastern Michigan University when he spotted a black doll hanging from a belt over a shower rod in the bathroom he shares with two suite mates.
"It was actually hung by its neck with multiple knots attached to it," said Casillas, who joined a few dozen students and staff members outside the dormitory Tuesday afternoon to talk about the incident.
Casillas said he's learned the student who hung the doll is the girlfriend of one of his suite mates who lives in another part of Best Hall.
University officials said the student responsible told investigators it was done as a "prank" and was not meant to be malicious or racist.
In a statement, officials also said, "Eastern Michigan takes this matter very seriously. There is absolutely no place at Eastern for hateful and racist actions, regardless of their intent. At this time, the University continues to investigate the incident and will take appropriate steps upon completion of the investigation."
"That is a hate crime," said Angel Gazaway, EMU student. "That was a threat on his life. If that's a joke, please explain."
"I don't see how that would be a joke," Casillas said.
"If you can do that, what else can she do," said Kya Fordham, student.
Fordham wants to see the university expel the student responsible.
"Obviously it's not a prank," said Ashleigh Sherd, student. "It's kind of disappointing and upsetting that people still think it's OK to treat people that way," Sherd said.
Sherd said this hateful and offensive act has affected the community.
"A lot of people are really angry, which is justified and there was some people with signs and stuff. And there's people in the lobby like there was a lot of people really upset," Sherd said.
In a letter to students. EMU President James smith said, "I joined Eastern Michigan University in 2016 in large part because of the rich diversity on this campus. It makes us a better place to learn, live and work. Sadly, we live in an environment now where this bedrock principle has been challenged and even rejected by many in our society. Monday's racist act it not who we are. We must and will do better."
As for Sherd, she felt the need to reach out to TV5.
"It's not something that should happen and it's something that people should hear about. It shouldn't just be like ignored or brushed under the rug," she said.
Sherd hopes nothing like this ever happens again to anyone. She wants the person responsible for this incident to be held accountable for their actions.