The Barry University Debate Continues: A Noose or a Harmless Piece of Rope?

A few weeks ago, New Times published a story about racial tension at Barry University, a private Catholic school that ranked most diverse in the south. Part of the story focused on Oswald Jones, a Jamaican-Born Barry technician who says he was harassed repeatedly because of his race. It came to a head in October 2007, when he found the above rope in his work quarters. He believed it was a noose. After he reported it, he was fired. Read the full story here.

Since then, we've gotten calls from people wanting to see the photo Jones took of the noose. One reader -- a student at the school -- commented that Jones had over-reacted, and criticized New Times' reporting.

The writer notes:

"If Ms. O'Neill actually saw the "noose" that the local police department and Barry's Public Safety saw, she would be embarrassed that she gave any credence to those allegations. When this first came out, I was among a group of students and employees who ran over and saw the "noose". This "noose" was simply a rope attached to a cart that was used to connect the cart to a truck hitch in order to move the equipment!! And it was nothing new! This rope had apparently been in Mr. Jones' work area--attached to that piece of equipment!!--since he started working at Barry. The end of the rope could barely fit over a truck hitch, never mind being confused with a "noose."...There is no possible way to characterize a hitch connected to a cart as a noose!!!! Not one person who saw it (whether black, white or latin) thought it even came close to looking like a "noose"."

The above photo -- shot on film-- was taken by Jones a few minutes after finding it. We're curious what readers think: Did he overreact? Is his story worth reporting?