A racist threat against a St. Olaf student that touched off campuswide protests and forced the college to cancel classes earlier this month was a hoax, the school revealed Wednesday.Hoaxes are a problem. If some of the responses of the students quoted in the Star Tribune article are accurate, and I have no reason to believe they aren't, St. Olaf has a much bigger problem on its hands:
A student confessed to writing the note, St. Olaf President David R. Anderson wrote in a message to students. The threat — an anonymous, typewritten note — was “fabricated,” he said, as an apparent “strategy to draw attention to concerns about the campus climate.”
“This was not a genuine threat,” Anderson wrote in the first of two messages Wednesday to students. “We’re confident that there is no ongoing threat from this incident to individuals or the community as a whole.”
Finals begin next week and students were out on the campus grounds Wednesday enjoying the spring sunshine. Student groups set up study break stations on the lawn, blasting music and handing out cotton candy.Confirmation bias is a good thing, I guess. Omelets, eggs, that sort of thing. Mascolo isn't alone:
Sophomore Alexandra Mascolo was swinging in a hammock next to the campus chapel. She’d participated in the protests earlier this month and believed that the most recent incident “started something good” at the college, although she noted, a hate crime hoax, “was not necessarily the best way to get it started.”
Student organizers who this month called for sweeping changes on campus to address a string of reported incidents involving racist messages targeting black students, said Wednesday that they don’t know the identity of the hoaxer. But they say their protest went beyond any single incident.What we're not clear about, at least yet, is whose racism we're talking about. As for the movement's actual goals, let's consider the very first demand the students made in the wake of the initial protest:
“Our movement wasn’t about one individual,” said Precious Ismail, a spokeswoman for the campus group, the Coalition for Change on the Hill. “Our movement was about a pattern of institutional racism.”
A. We demand the removal of Arne Christenson from the Advisory Board of The Institute for Freedom & Community. Given Mr. Christenson’s political views and values as a Christian Zionist, St. Olaf College risks his influence upon the speakers brought to the school, the educational offerings, faculty development workshops, and scholarships sanctioned by the Institute through financial means.Christian Zionist? What does that have to do with a note on a windshield? And who is Arne Christenson, anyway? A member of the St. Olaf Class of '83, but a thought criminal -- he works for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, you see. And since the United Nations has told us that Zionism is racism, Christenson can't be part of anything affiliated with his alma mater.
The picture of St. Olaf's president, Anderson, with the student group making the demands, must be seen to be believed -- check out the sullen, creepy Maoist vibe you get from the assembled students surrounding Anderson:
|Better get with the program there, bald dude|
We visited St. Olaf as a potential college for my daughter a few months back; I wrote about it at the time. We'll be looking elsewhere.