Sometimes a Towel is Just a Towel; Then Again, Sometimes Not

hate-crimes-2-716549It’s been an odd turn of events recently at Oberlin College. After a sighting of an alleged KKK member (or somebody dressed as one), came this report from Slate (3/5/13):

Local police say they responded to the report, but weren’t able to find anyone wearing the hard-to-miss KKK garb. They did, however, discover a female walking with a blanket wrapped around her, suggesting the very real possibility that the eyewitness was mistaken.

(Read the entire article.)

At first blush, this might seem to be an overreaction. Then again, there’s been a series of racially motivated incidents at Oberlin College as reported by college paper The Oberlin Review (5/1/13):

Trigger warning: This article includes original language used in hate speech.

Incidents of hate speech on campus have continued to occur since the first cases were discovered in the Science Center on Feb. 9. Though not exhaustive, the Review has attempted to compile an ongoing list of acts of hate speech on campus.

Week of Feb. 9: Notes containing hate speech, at least one of which contained a swastika, were found in faculty mailboxes in Rice Hall.

Feb. 9: Vandalism in the Science Center included the replacement of “Black” with “Nigger” on Black History Month posters, drawings of swastikas, damage to the “Year of the Queer” posters and reported destruction of the Chinese calendar.

(Read the entire article.)

Finally, classes were cancelled on Monday afternoon as reported by CNN (3/5/13):

In lieu of classes, college administrators asked students, faculty and staff to “gather for a series of discussions of the challenging issues that have faced our community in recent weeks,” a statement on Oberlin’s website said.

“We hope today will allow the entire community — students, faculty, and staff — to make a strong statement about the values that we cherish here at Oberlin: inclusion, respect for others, and a strong and abiding faith in the worth of every individual,” the statement said.

(Read the entire article.)

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