(CNN) -- A student found four nooses in a classroom at Central Michigan University earlier this week, the school said Thursday.
The student found the nooses in a section of the Engineering and Technology Building typically used by senior engineering students. They were made of compressed gas lines that are typically used in laboratory work, according to a news release.
Michigan state Sen. Hansen Clark said he met with the university president to discuss how to handle the incident. He plans to make a statement Friday on whether the university will ask federal authorities to investigate the case.
"There was no reason for the nooses to be hung like that," Hansen said. "The community is looking at this as a racist act."
Students and employees at the school's Mount Pleasant, Michigan, campus are being questioned about the incident, university Police Chief Stan Dinius was quoted as saying in the news release.
Central Michigan Life, the school newspaper, further quoted Dinius as saying: "There are several people who operate in that room. It's an open lab where people can go at any time."
The university police department is offering a $500 reward for information about the nooses.
"This type of activity will not be tolerated at CMU and we realize that we have much to do to continue our mission of raising awareness and educating everyone on diversity issues," President Michael Rao said in a news release.
Mount Pleasant, a town of about 26,000, is located about 70 miles north of Lansing, Michigan. According to the university's 2006 figures, 4.3 percent of the more than 20,000 students at the Mount Pleasant campus were black. E-mail to a friend
CNN's Joann Rizzo contributed to this report.