noose.jpgCROOKSTON, Minn. (AP) _ Authorities are trying to determine if a painted wooden figure found hanging outside a building on the University of Minnesota-Crookston campus was a hate crime.

Crookston Police Chief Tim Motherway says the statue, about 3 feet tall, was hung by a rope from the roof of the UMC Student Center and was visible from the ground.

Motherway tells the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald that college staff took the figure down right away and contacted police.

KFGO-AM of Fargo, N.D., reports the mannequin appeared to be African-American and had a rope around its torso.

UMC Chancellor Chuck Casey sent an e-mail to students and faculty and staff members Thursday, calling the incident "reprehensible.''