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Monday, March 04, 2013

Ohio's Oberlin College Classes Canceled After Figure In KKK Robe Spotted

By Susan Duclos

Classes at the Oberlin College in Ohio were canceled after a series of “hate-related incidents”, the latest being a figure in what resembled the robes and hoods that the KKK wears, was spotted near the African Heritage House.

Oberlin has documented the recent incidents:

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.
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.

Feb. 12: LGBTQ Community Coordinator Lorena Espinoza found a note in the Multicultural Resource Center that read “Nigger + Faggot Center.”

Feb. 16: Students found a number of offensive notes written around Burton Hall. “Whites Only” was written above a water fountain, “Nigger Oven” was written inside the elevator and “No Niggers” was written on a bathroom door.

Feb. 17: The Office of Safety and Security released a Special Alert of a strong-arm robbery of a student near West College Street and Cedar Street. The student reported that he was approached by an individual who made a derogatory remark about his perceived ethnicity and then physically knocked him to the ground.

Feb. 26: Posters were defaced in King including those advertising “Year of the Queer” and the Affirmative Action panel, at least one of which had a swastika drawn on it.

Feb. 27: A swastika drawn onto the outside window of West Lecture Hall in the Science Center was seen being removed by custodial staff.

The FBI has been notified and Agent Vicki Anderson said on March 1, "We have been made aware of the situation in Oberlin," and "A lot of factors have to be reviewed" before the FBI issues an official statement. (Cleveland Jewish News)

Statement via the Oberlin website asking for a day of solidarity.:

Early this morning, there was a report of a person wearing a hood and robe resembling a KKK outfit between South and the Edmonia Lewis Center and in the vicinity of Afrikan Heritage House. This report is being investigated by both Safety and Security and the Oberlin Police Department. This event, in addition to the series of other hate-related incidents on campus, has precipitated our decision to suspend formal classes and all non-essential activities for today, Monday, March 4, 2013, and gather for a series of discussions of the challenging issues that have faced our community in recent weeks.

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. Indeed, the strength of Oberlin comes from our belief that diversity and openness enriches us all, and enhances the educational mission at its core.
We ask that all students, faculty and staff participate in the events planned for today:

12PM | Lord Lounge, Afrikan Heritage House
Teach-in led by Africana Studies Department
2PM | Wilder Bowl
Demonstration of solidarity
3:30PM | Finney Chapel
Community convocation: “We Stand Together” (previously scheduled for Wednesday 3/6 at 12PM)
When faced with difficult situations, Oberlin has consistently met the challenges and affirmed its commitment to the highest quality of education and the noblest aspirations of its community members. We believe that today’s events—and our ongoing work and discussions—will strengthen Oberlin and will strengthen us all.

Marvin Krislov, President
Sean Decatur, Dean, Arts & Sciences
David Stull, Dean, Conservatory of Music
Eric Estes, Dean of Students