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Year in Review: 17 campus hate crimes that turned out to be hoaxes in 2017

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Over the last year, it seems as if more campus hate crimes turned out to be hoaxes than legitimate acts of hate. Schools tended to be fertile ground for overzealous students looking to prove there is hate where none exists. These 17 examples show 2017 continued to be a year in which hate-crime hoaxes are an epidemic with no end in sight.

Some anecdotes are fallout from post-election antics spawned in late November 2016 in the wake of the Donald Trump presidency. The rest originated in apparent desperate attempts to push a progressive narrative.

Student cries KKK — except it was a sheet over lab equipment
Jan. 2017

A Bowling Green State University student falsely identified a cover for a piece of equipment as a member of the Ku Klux Klan. After seeing a white, pointy figure in a classroom window, the student took to Twitter to post the image and dramatically stated there was an “ACTIVE KKK group” at BGSU. After the university looked into this claim, they discovered what the student tweeted was a cover on a piece of lab equipment. Whoops.

Black student sent threatening ‘KKK’ messages 
Jan. 2017

A 14 year-old African-American student was disciplined for sending a threatening tweet to her high school under the Twitter handle “@KoolkidsKlankkk.” The message read “We’re planning to attack tomorrow.” But a police investigation found the Twitter account was run by progressive student activists.

Another anti-Muslim hate crime claim bites the dust 
Jan. 2017

A day after the election of President Trump, a female San Diego University student claimed she was approached by two men in a parking garage stairwell who invoked the name of the newly elected president “before attacking [her] and stealing her car.” The student claimed that these men said things like “Now that Trump is president get ready to start fleeing.” Turns out, she had forgotten where she parked. After police in January disproved her claim, the student “decided not to pursue charges.”

Prosecutors won’t file charges against Muslim student’s hate-crime hoax 
Feb. 2017

The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office in February decided not file charges against a University of Michigan student accused by the Ann Arbor Police Department of a hate-crime hoax. In November, a female University of Michigan student told police days after the election that a white man demanded she remove her hijab or he would set her on fire. Without any proof, the U of M Division of Public Safety and Security issued an alert, calling the incident an act of “hate and intimidation.” But authorities determined it never happened.

Hate crime hoax alert: Capital University student confesses  
Feb. 2017

A Capital University student confessed to “submitting multiple false reports to campus police” after campus police asked him if he had written a hate-filled note taped to his own door. He confessed that he had been seeking “notice” for at least two years. In 2015, he pulled a similar stunt, and the school responded with an inclusivity march. The student added that he wished “that those who feel his actions have delegitimized the reporting of hate crimes will forgive him.”

Hoax alert: ‘Non-Caucasian’ student behind racist graffiti
March 2017

A “non-caucasian” Minnesota high school student was disciplined after it was determined he was responsible for racist and anti-semitic graffiti found in a school bathroom. The scribblings included a picture of a lynching, the phrase “Hail the Ku Klux Klan,” the “N” word, and a swastika. The school district released a statement that “Lakeville South High School administration received permission from the parent to share that the student is non-Caucasian and has significant special education needs.” Nevertheless, the district viewed it as a “teachable moment” and launched cultural liaison opportunities.

Student admits to hoax she said was linked to post-election ‘surge in hate crimes’
March 2017

A 21 year-old student at the University of Michigan claimed in mid-November 2016 that a man scratched her face due to her wearing a “solidarity [safety] pin.” In March of this year, the student pled guilty to one count of “false report of a misdemeanor.” She told the judge she was embarrassed by a visible scratch she herself had made with the pin. But her story had already been reported as “part of the surge in hate crimes following the election of Donald Trump.”

‘Report Illegal Aliens; America is a White Nation’ posters hung — by liberal students
March 2017

A group of progressive students at Gustavus Adolphus College apologized for posters they put up across campus that stated: “A notice to all white Americans. It is your civil duty to report any and all illegal aliens to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. They are criminals. America is a white nation.” The posters’ were allegedly hung to start a dialogue on discrimination, hate, and bias, and A-frames next to the posters advised students on what they could do if they witnessed discrimination. Unaware that this war some sort of social justice lesson, students reacted with shock and anger at the posters, ripping many of them down. The progressive students group later apologized and said they wanted “to help put an end to bias-related incidents that happen on our campus, social media, and in our communities by forcing individuals to have dialogues about forms of hate and bias” and that they hope that “members of the campus community will reflect on today’s events and join us in ensuring that no one student or group of students are ever a victim of this form of discrimination.”

Black guy hangs ‘No Black People Allowed’ sign at USC
April 2017

The University of Southern California’s Department of Public Safety confirmed that the person who had adhered a sign reading “No Black People Allowed” that featured a makeshift confederate flag and “#MAGA” on a gate of a campus residence was African American. The culprit was not affiliated with the university and did not face charges. Fortunately, not many jumped on this now-revealed hoax as “more evidence” of the alleged hate-filled Donald Trump era. But one exception was the “Blacktivist” Facebook page which has more than 300,000 followers. The group urged their fellow African Americans to “look around” and ponder if this is “the country our ancestors died for? Is this the country that we want our children to grow up in?”

Beware the hoax: Noose sighted at University of Maryland frat

A noose was allegedly discovered hanging in the kitchen of a University of Maryland fraternity in early May. In an email to The College Fix, the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life Director Matt Supple stated that “We all bear responsibility to confront bias/hate when we see it. Sadly, this is one more example of hatred and prejudice that continue to poison our society. We must stand together in defiance of this act. We need to ensure people who would perpetrate this type of hate know they do not belong and are not welcome in our chapters, in our community, at the University of Maryland, or in our society.” Except photos of the noose on either social media or news sites never arose.

CONFIRMED: Racist note that prompted St. Olaf College shut down is hate-crime hoax
May 2017

A note that used the n-word and threatened a black female student at St. Olaf College — sparking an intense protest that led to classes being shut down for a day as student demonstrators accused the school of institutional racism — “was not a genuine threat,” according to the school’s president. In a campus wide email, the president explained that the reasons why he said this was not a genuine threat is because the university learned from the author’s confession that the note was fabricated. “It was apparently a strategy to draw attention to concerns about the campus climate,” he added.

Suspect in social media threats to minority HS students is … black
September 2017

Various threats made online against minority students at a Pennsylvania high school were not hate crimes, police determined. The suspect turned out to be a black student. The 14-year-old student from West Chester East High School was charged in September with harassment, cyber bullying, and terroristic threats for posts he made on the “East Shade Room” Instagram page.

Man charged in U. Maryland swastika vandalism is black former UMD employee
October 2017

The suspect charged in connection with a spray-painted swastika on campus in October on the University of Maryland’s campus is African American and a former employee of UMD, according to authorities.

University’s ‘colored’ water fountain scandal was student hoax
October 2017 

A “colored” sign placed over a water fountain at the University of North Carolina Charlotte—a callback to the days of racial segregation in which public facilities were separated by “whites” and “colored” designations—was placed there by “a male student” who believed he was engaging in “humor.” The sign caused “a strong response from staff and students alike,” leading the student in question to approach school officials and reveal that he had placed the sign as part of “a poor attempt at humor,” according to the student himself. “I am deeply sorry for all that came out of this,” the student is alleged to have said.

Hate-crime hoaxer near Kansas State won’t be charged
November 2017

A Kansas man won’t face charges for filing a false police report about the n-word graffiti and threat he painted on his own car near Kansas State University, The Kansas City Star reports. “Go Home Ni**er Boy” was written with yellow paint across the rear windshield of the car. Other racially offensive language — “White’s Only,” “Die,” and “Date your own kind” — was also painted on the windshield and side doors of the car. But police said that because the vandal, who is black, admitted he was behind the graffiti and was “genuinely remorseful” it would “not be in the best interests” of the community to charge him.

Black Air Force Academy cadet admits to racial slur vandalism
November 2017

Back in September, some black Air Force Academy cadets discovered racial slurs written on their dorm doors, including “Go home ni**er.” The school began an investigation and Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria lectured cadets about the messages’ “horrible language,” telling them “if you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.” According to The Washington Post, Silveria’s speech “drew national attention for its eloquence” and was viewed more than 1 million times on YouTube. Alas, in November it was announced that the black cadets were victims of one of their own. A black student wrote the racist messages.

‘Non-white’ high school student admits to ‘White Lives Matter’ graffiti 
November 2017

A Missouri high school student, identified merely as “non-white,” admitted to writing the “N word” and “White Lives Matter” on a school bathroom mirror in November. Though the situation turned out to be a hoax, officials stressed the “teachable moment.”

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Amanda Tidwell -- The Ohio State University

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