When word spread that a rash of “racial incidents” was plaguing the campus and community of Ohio’s Oberlin University — a school with a history of hate crime hoaxes — Lena Dunham urged her fellow Obies to “remember the beautiful, inclusive and downright revolutionary history of the place you call home.” She needn’t have worried: things are exactly as she remembers. The hoaxes are still hoaxes, and the school will continue to treat them as real:
These actions were real. The fear and disruption they caused in our community were real. While Oberlin College takes great pride in its historic and ongoing commitment to diversity, inclusion, and respectful discussion of ideas, we draw the line at threats and harassment of any kind.
That statement, issued by the school’s communications staff, was inspired by speculation on the web that “the perpetrators engaged in these actions merely to provoke a reaction from our community.” In other words, yes, it was a hoax, and it was disruptive: the school canceled classes and convened a “day of solidarity” in response to “a report of a person in a costume meant to evoke the Ku Klux Klan.” That was revealed later to have been a student wrapped in a blanket — but the blanket was real.
— Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) August 24, 2013
— susan price (@sbprice) August 24, 2013
— caligram1 (@caligram1) August 24, 2013
— stew berens (@ARSuper72) August 24, 2013
— Hal Pashler (@hpashler) August 24, 2013
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Legal Insurrection answers Brit Hume’s question from yesterday about “what Oberlin knew and when it knew it.”
Did Oberlin college pres. Marvin Krislov play along with hate incidents hoax after he knew the whole thing was bogus? http://t.co/oco8JTmK9B
— Brit Hume (@brithume) August 23, 2013
The answer is yes. “Oberlin was aware that the main perpetrator stated he was doing this only to get a reaction from campus,” writes William A. Jacobson, citing police reports. “Everything in that perpetrator’s background would have supported that he was not racist. He led a high school group supporting Obama’s election, a fact he almost certainly put on his Oberlin application, and had run a sign up table for the Obama campaign.”
— Brit Hume (@brithume) August 25, 2013