Phi Beta Cons

The Godmother of Fake Hate Crimes

Last Tuesday was the sixth anniversary of the famous fake hate crime of Kerri Dunn at Claremont McKenna College. In case you missed the story way back then, Dunn, a visiting psychology professor at CMC, was scheduled to speak at a campus forum on racism. During her talk, she shocked the audience by announcing that she had been — that very day — the victim of a hate crime. Ta da!
Her car had been vandalized, its windows smashed, tires slashed. And profane, anti-Semitic graffiti covered the wreckage.
The campus was shocked. CMC and all four of its sister colleges canceled classes (they didn’t even do that on 9/11). An emotional student body held a giant rally against racism. The riveting spectacle was covered by network news.
Undoubtedly, the whole affair would have been a great career boost for Dunn if only two students hadn’t seen her doing all the vandalism herself. Dunn lost her job, of course, and also went to prison for lying to federal investigators and for insurance fraud. (She had claimed that $1,700 worth of items, including a laptop computer, had been stolen by the hate-crime bogeyman. These items were later found in a closet in Dunn’s home.)
Dunn might have avoided prison if she hadn’t tried to cash in. But her long years of education at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where she earned both a Ph.D. and a J.D., were not sufficient to instill in her an appreciation for the risks associated with perjury and fraud.
By the way, she wasn’t even Jewish.
Dunn-like stories have become all too familiar. Recently, we have watched the noose drama at UCSD, brought to us by an as-yet-unidentified “minority” student who finally admitted to placing the noose in the library herself.
And who could forget the Columbia University professor who claimed she found a noose on her office door a few years ago, after she came under investigation for plagiarism? She was fired for the plagiarism, but the noose case remains unsolved.
Then there was the infamous Duke lacrosse case. And another case at Northwestern. We could go on. And on. And on.

Where Kerri Dunn is now, I have no idea. But clearly her legacy is alive and well.
(Special thanks to my friend John Wilson of the New York Post, a CMC graduate and Kerri Dunn survivor, for bringing this anniversary to my attention.)

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