Phi Beta Cons

KKK Hood . . . or Blanket?

Oberlin College, once named the third “most liberal college in America,” made national headlines on Monday after someone reported seeing a “KKK figure,” wearing a robe and hood, near the college’s African Heritage House.

Although there were no cell-phone pictures or videos to corroborate the appearance of the “KKK figure,” Oberlin officials immediately canceled all classes. Instead of going to class, students attended a series of discussion groups and community-solidarity events designed to help students cope with the disturbing reports.

“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. Indeed, the strength of Oberlin comes from our belief that diversity and openness enriches us all, and enhances the educational mission at its core,” college leaders said in an official statement.

Today the New York Times reports that, after two days of investigation, Oberlin, Ohio police have been unable to confirm the alleged sighting.

Shortly after midnight on Monday, a female student reported seeing someone dressed in what looked like Ku Klux Klan regalia walking alone on campus near the Afrikan Heritage House. Campus security officers and the Oberlin Police Department responded, but could not find the person.

Another student later told the police that at about the same time, he spotted a person wrapped in a blanket, raising the possibility that the woman had been mistaken. Lt. Mike McCloskey of the Oberlin police said it was unclear whether the two sightings were of the same person.

Is it possible that someone walking around with a blanket around his or her shoulders, hoping only to ward off the cold, could have inadvertently caused the complete shutdown of a college? If so, it wouldn’t be the first report of a campus “hate crime” that turned out to be unfounded.

Read the full story at The College Fix.


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