Phi Beta Cons

Deconstructing a Hate Crime

The facts behind a celebrated “hate crime” at the University of Michigan turn out to be a lot murkier than all of the loud-mouthed catcalls from earlier this school year would seem to have indicated, according to this report by junior Nick Cheolas:

Amidst the uproar, few bothered to reserve judgment until the facts were known, and few cared when the suspects involved disputed the accusations. Many on this campus – students, professors and administrators alike – were only too excited to get on with the witch trial, calling for the prosecution and expulsion of the suspects and promising to combat the “cold” racial climate on campus. No one bothered to review a single shred of evidence…
This “incident,” supposedly indicative of bigotry and hatred on campus, was hardly an “incident” at all. After spending hours reviewing the police reports, witness interviews, investigative notes and lab reports associated with this case, there is no doubt in my mind that the two alleged “victims” made patently false statements to detectives and that Williamson would never have been convicted in a trial…
groups on this campus have been reduced to name nonexistent events in an attempt to convince the rest of us that a “harsh” and “contemptuous” racial climate permeates this campus. That isn’t the case, but it seems many would like it to be.
And that’s our real race problem.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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