Another alleged hate crime has been revealed to be a hoax. At the end of last month a student named Samantha Wells said she found this racist note left on her car at St. Olaf’s College in Minnesota:
— laura (@longnightlaura) April 30, 2017
Today the college’s president revealed the person who created the note had admitted it was a hoax. From the Star Tribune:
“We learned from the author’s confession that the note was fabricated,” the president said. “It was apparently a strategy to draw attention to concerns about the campus climate.”
Anderson’s second e-mail implicated a student as the person responsible, pointing out that “federal privacy laws prohibit the college from disclosing the identity of the author of that note and disclosing the actions taken by the college now that we know the author’s identity.”
The April 29th hoax was not the only racist message found on campus. In the weeks prior there were several other messages found in various places. From Northfield News.com:
On April 23, another student reportedly found a note on his car as well. Then on April 24, student Sahreenah Glispie said she found a note in her book bag that said, “Go back to Africa.”
Students say the racial slurs have appeared in public spaces throughout campus this year and they’ve not been satisfied with the response from the college’s administration.
“It’s been something that’s been going on all year,” Wells said. “We’ve done so much digging and this stuff has happened for decades. There’s one thing that happens and it stops and then it happens again and then it kind of stops. I think the big message is we shouldn’t let this happen again. The administration needs to do something that stops it indefinitely.”
It’s still not clear whether the earlier notes were written by the same person or whether some were actually intended to be racist attacks. In any case, it was the fake note of April 29th that prompted a student sit-in/boycott of classes. To end the boycott, students demanded college president David R. Anderson agree in writing to terms for considering a long list of student demands. Demands include the creation of a comprehensive, mandatory racial awareness curriculum and additional programs for students of color. Here’s a local news report on the sit-in:
The fake hate note is similar to another recent case involving a gay church organist who spray-painted anti-gay graffiti and a swastika on his own church to “mobilize a movement.” There were several other campus hate hoaxes exposed last year including a Muslim college student in Louisiana who claimed two men had assaulted her, another Muslim student at the University of Michigan who claimed someone threatened to set her on fire, and a North Park University student who claimed she received homophobic notes.