University gift shop displayed black leader dolls by hanging them from a model tree

A Michigan State University gift shop displayed a collection of miniature dolls of black leaders like Michelle Obama and Harriet Tubman by hanging them from a small tree. Upset by this extreme insensitivity, grad student Krystal Rose Davis-Dunn says she asked the staff if they noticed anything wrong with the display but they apparently did not. After Davis-Dunn posted a photo of the display to Facebook, the university apologized. From CNN:

"We were made aware of an inappropriate and insensitive display at the Wharton Center gift shop which used a tree-like rack to hold historical black figures," Michigan State University spokeswoman Emily Gerkin Guerrant said. "Regardless of the intent of the display, its impact cannot be ignored — people were hurt and offended."

Davis-Dunn told CNN she had initially asked the gift shop's employees if they thought anything was wrong with them, but they said no. "They're black people hanging from trees," she said. "I mean, lynching? It was just not registering with them."

The incident is the latest in a string of racial insensitivities on Michigan State University's campus in the 2019-2020 school year.