‘KKK Figure’ Prompts Oberlin College to Cancel Classes

The historically liberal school has seen a remarkable surge in hate crimes in recent weeks.

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Oberlin College

Finney Chapel at Oberlin College.

Oberlin College, a private, small liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio, cancelled classes today after a person wearing a hood and a robe — similar to that of a KKK member — was reportedly spotted Monday morning near the campus’s Afrikan Heritage House, a dorm that promotes multicultural awareness.

Campus security and the Oberlin Police Department are investigating the sighting, the latest in a series of hate-speech incidents on the campus. In lieu of classes, the administration declared a “Day of Solidarity,” urging all 2,900 undergraduate students to attend lectures such as a “teach-in” moderated by the Africana Studies Department.

(WATCH: What College Is Really Like, As Told Through Oberlin Students)

“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 school’s president Marvin Krislov and three other deans said in a statement.

On Mar. 1, The Oberlin Review, the student newspaper, published a list of hate crimes that have taken place on campus in February alone. Drawings of swastikas and graffiti using the N word and its gay equivalent, the F word, have been found in various campus buildings. Even a “Whites Only” sign was discovered hanging above a water fountain.

The incidents are especially unusual given the college’s history of tolerance. Established in 1833, Oberlin bills itself as the first American college to “adopt a policy to admit students of color (1835) and the first to grant bachelor’s degrees to women (1841) in a coeducational program.” Today, the Afrikan Heritage House offers housing for students who want to learn more about “African, African-American and Afrikan-Caribbean culture, traditions, and issues,” according to the college’s website.

Lena Dunham, an alum and creator of HBO’s Girls, tweeted that she was “saddened” by the news of these recent incidents and called the school “the safest place”:

MORE: Do Diversity Training Sessions Work? 

37 comments
budkin
budkin

Ugh, I went to Oberlin and this is the kind of thing that infuriated me. So many people desperate to find something to be offended by. The graffiti going on before this was a real issue, but getting a glimpse of someone in a blanket is not justification for a media barrage and canceling classes.

Tolcan
Tolcan

Has the KKK taken responsibility? That's what I'd like to know...

curt3rd
curt3rd

If this had happen in the South, there would be a slew of comments saying how stupid those people are as if its the only place racism happens.

JosephCWren
JosephCWren like.author.displayName 1 Like

@curt3rd 

It's the only part of the country still ignorant enough to think it's the norm.   THAT'S the difference.  

curt3rd
curt3rd

Im pretty sure youre the only one showing your ignorance and stupidity when you stereotype a whole region of the country.

curt3rd
curt3rd

You are my source.  You are showing your own hypocrisy. 

JosephCWren
JosephCWren

Questions end with a '?'.     Also, still too lazy for those apostrophes, eh??    

My opinion comes from direct experience with the people I encountered there.

Is every southerner waving the rebel flag and still whistling Dixie?    No, of course not.    

But it is the norm, not the exception.

I'll also point out that I have provided references and sources for why I believe what I do, and all you have done is say "UH-UH!!!!!"

curt3rd
curt3rd

Then you arent ingnorant.  You are just stupid.  You do realize that stereotyping and racism has a direct correlation.

curt3rd
curt3rd

Who do you know that is mad about losing the civil war?  Racism exist everwhere not just the South. Some could argue racism is more prevalant in the North than the South.

Where in the South have you actually visited? 

JosephCWren
JosephCWren

@curt3rd 

Not at all.   I base my judgement on the continued actions of the south, and their inability to get over the fact they lost the civil war ALMOST 200 YEARS AGO.   If the south ever does 'rise again' it will only be after they exorcise the last of their racist past away.

curt3rd
curt3rd

Sticking with the grammar. Thats the best you can do?  You realize the South is about a third of the country. For you to stereotype that many people is pretty much the same thing as being racist.

JosephCWren
JosephCWren

@curt3rd 
Only because we are discussing the mentality of the south, and you just fit right in there Bubba Ray.

I notice you're not too lazy to use commas and stuff so that excuse falls a little flat.   Sorry if proper grammar is beyond your limited scope.

curt3rd
curt3rd

That is your arguement.  Im to lazy to put an apostrophe on a comment board.  Come on, you can do better then that.  Give me something real

JosephCWren
JosephCWren

@curt3rd 
I wish it were only a stereotype.

You're is spelled with an apostrophe chief.   Same thing goes for I'm.

Thanks for fulfilling my stereotype.

GeorgeSpelvin
GeorgeSpelvin

Without pics, never happened.

For an inclusive school....Oberlin seems to be excluding those folks with a different world view.

Here in Geneva, NY there is a Soviet hammer and sickle painted on a wall.  Why is no one upset by that?

psychobabbled
psychobabbled

@GeorgeSpelvin http://obiemicroaggressions.tumblr.com/

 Here is an entire link of pictures.

Let me get this straight...a group that has notoriously gone around killing and terrorizing groups of people should get our understanding and tolerance? No ONE has to tolerate another person's intolerance of another human being. That isn't what tolerance is about.


JPMinNC
JPMinNC

Oberlin is not a place where students go to escape reality, but to confront it intellectually and actively.  "Learning and Labor," the college motto, refers to precisely that kind of confrontation.  Racial incidents may leave a stain in media coverage, but there is no doubt that they will be taken by the college community as an opportunity for learning how to confront some of the sadder aspects of contemporary society.  

isteveslr
isteveslr

The Guardian in London called up the local Oberlin cops. The Guardian reports it was probably just a big mistake.

dre23222
dre23222

Just let you know that hate and stupid people will never go away

matrix29
matrix29

Wimps.

You could probably find no bigger glut of gutless weenies than that college.

Zal
Zal

Alright, lets stop encouraging kids today to be such wimps. Cancelling classes because some <expletive> painted some racist clap trap is foolish and give more impact to something that should be ignored or ridiculed.

jnkenan
jnkenan like.author.displayName 1 Like

I went to Oberlin. And I was part of the very liberal elite.   I'm sorry to say this, but I would bet it was a liberal trying to get attention for the cause. Sad, but true. 

JusMoses
JusMoses

@jnkenan racist by nature are usually conservative

jnkenan
jnkenan

To the below repliers: Sorry to say this but I am a liberal as they come. Ask anyone who graduated with me in 92. I will also guarantee you that you are betting on the wrong horse if you think this is a actual hate event. I bet you I'm right and we (liberals) are going to look real stupid if we get "outraged" about this. This best position is to ignore this as a stupid prank. 

DavidMcGarvey
DavidMcGarvey like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@jnkenan 

Two grammar errors in one paragraph.  That's a lot for an Oberlin grad.  My BS meter is hitting the red zone.

JosephCWren
JosephCWren

@jnkenan 

Liberals don't say things like 'we liberals' because we're individuals.     We also rarely USE the word liberal.   We consider ourselves progressives, also the IQ barren people like to toss the word around 'cause they think it's dirty.(like you're doing)


JosephCWren
JosephCWren

@curt3rd 

OH NOES!!!!  THE MEAN OL' CONSERVATIVE IS CALLING ME A LIBERAL AGAIN!!!!!



THE HORROR!!!!   THE HORROR!!!!!    OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!!

WHY!?!?!?!?!?!!?    WHY!?!?!?!?!?!?!!??!

curt3rd
curt3rd

Progressive is just another word for liberal but you are right, you never here a liberal actualy admit to being a liberal

JosephCWren
JosephCWren

@jnkenan 

Yeah, you sound like a liberal.   We always go around calling ourselves part of the elite.   Go back to Rush and Fox News......

JerryCampbell
JerryCampbell

@jnkenan You sound very smart and omniscient. Is your first name "Jesus" and last name "Christ"? If not, then  STFU.

alex.kasper
alex.kasper

If the college is so tolerant, why not engage the individual in the white robe? That's kind of the point of tolerance, isn't it? To freak out and shut down while calling the police indicates "tolerance" at this school is in name only.

JosephCWren
JosephCWren

@alex.kasper 

You know what my favorite thing about ignorant bigots is????  They self identify.

Thanks.

gwallace
gwallace

@alex.kasperThe individual was spotted from a distance in the very early morning. A witness went to report the sighting; by the time they returned, the individual had left. "Shutting down" the school was intended to give time to begin talking about issues of safety and diversity and to prevent the situation from getting further out of hand.