Racism Closes College in Ohio
Oberlin College is a liberal arts school in Ohio. It has long been known for its position on racism. One of the first colleges to readily accept African-American students also has a reputation as one of the most gay-friendly colleges in the country.
Monday the college shut down. For the past month swastikas have been painted on windows, gay rights fliers have been defaced, and a Black History Month was rewritten to say “Nigger History Month”.
On Monday, police were called to the campus amid reports of an individual walking on school grounds wearing a KKK outfit near the college’s Afrikan Heritage House in the early hours of the morning. But investigation indicated it may have been a case of mistaken identity.
That prompted officials to suspend classes “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”.
Oberlin College is famous for its liberal and progressive policies. Commencement speakers have included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr Martin Luther King Jr and the Rev Jesse Jackson.
The incidents apparently began on February 9th when the Black History Month poster was defaced, and “Year of the Queer” posters appeared.
This was followed three days later with a note found in the Multicultural Resource Center that read “Nigger + Faggot Center”. A “Whites Only” notice was written above a water fountain and a swastika was drawn on a window, the college newspaper also reported.
When the reported sighting of an individual wearing a white hood was reported, faculty jointly decided it was time to take action. The statement read: “This event, in addition to the series of other hate-related incidents on campus, has precipitated our decision to suspend formal classes and non-essential activities for today.”
Lt Mike McCloskey of Oberlin police: “Officers checked the area and were unable to locate anybody. College security later saw a student wrapped in a blanket.”
McCloskey suggested that the apparent missighting may have been an innocent mistake. He also indicated that those responsible for the racist vandalism had now been caught and were being dealt with.
“My understanding is that the individuals are college students and they have been identified. They are no longer on campus. The college is dealing with it internally, and we have been working in co-operation with the college.”
He added: “Charges could be happening, depending on prosecutors’ review. Our case file has been forwarded to prosecutors.”
What motivated the two students to take this type of action is unknown at this time.
Columnist-The Guardian Express