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There were 19 campus hate crime hoaxes in 2023


Fake racist fans, racist graffiti written by Hispanic students — just a normal year

There were at least 19 hate crime hoaxes in 2023 that either occurred on a high school or college campus or are otherwise linked to higher education, according to an analysis by The College Fix. The tally marks an increase from last year, during which there were at least 14.

A hate crime hoax is anything considered criminal or at least an act of misconduct. A hoax can be confirmed, such as when Hispanic gangs were found guilty of spray-painting “white power” graffiti at an Idaho high school or when black Sacramento high schoolers were found to be behind circulating a dollar bill with a “racist anti-Black caricature” on it.

It can also include a phantom attacker, like when a Muslim University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student claimed she was attacked with a knife by an Israel supporter.

Other investigations are closed or hit a dead end without further explanation or the alleged victim went silent. This is what happened when University of Cincinnati Professor Antar Tichavakunda did not respond to multiple law enforcement requests for further information on a racist letter he allegedly received.

It can also be a hoax when there is no path forward for the investigation to end but there’s also no clear evidence indicating the act was an intentional hate crime.

Reporting there were only 19 actually is generous, since one hoax involved the claim, bolstered by academics, that residence schools in Canada had mass graves with at least 215 Indigenous children buried in them. Well, not really graves, but a radar picked up something that was maybe, possibly, sort of bodies.

We’re still waiting, because “no remains” were found despite excavating 14 sites at a Catholic church in Manitoba in August where radar allegedly picked up “anomalies” as well. The College Fix previously raised concerns about the veracity of claims of “mass graves.”

University of Montreal Professor Jacques Rouillard, a skeptic of the mass graves theory, provided a good quote we can borrow when talking about some of these hoaxes: “I don’t like to use the word hoax because it’s too strong but there are also too many falsehoods circulating about this issue with no evidence.”

“Falsehoods” around campus hate still include allegedly racist sports fans, this time at Pennsylvania State University and Guilford College in North Carolina.

A white conservative professor was also falsely accused of harassing a black student at the University of Dallas.

Sometimes acts that may appear to be hateful are committed by white people — but not with a racist intent.

A white military veteran with mental health issues avoided jail time after hanging a noose on a statue of the Greek poet Homer at the University of Virginia. The hate crime turned out to not be one, though campus police chief Timothy Longo said it “certainly” was a hate crime in September 2022.

Sometimes black Democrat students are charged with crimes, but pro-lifers get the criticism. This is what happened after police charged Harvard University student Naod Nega, a black Democrat, with beating up someone while using a “homophobic slur,” according to The Harvard Crimson.

But campus LGBT leaders blamed a pro-life event for creating the environment for the attack. “Someone just got attacked — so we don’t need to ask questions of, ‘What does letting homophobic thought on campus lead to?’ This is what it leads to,” one LGBT leader said. “It leads to people getting punched and called slurs on our campus.”

Actually, it was reportedly drugs and likely underlying mental health issues that led to Nega allegedly beating someone up, but don’t let the facts get in the way of a good narrative.

MORE: Of course Harvard’s president is a diversity hire

Understandably, it has been a tough year for the LGBT community in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard police quietly closed an investigation into anti-LGBT emails allegedly sent to some affiliates of the Ivy League university. The emails, mirroring language used by race hoaxer Jussie Smollett, said “Cambridge is MAGA Country.” “MAGA” is President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan — “Make America Great Again.”

Police ignored questions from The College Fix about the possibility of a hate crime hoax, given the similar language used by Smollett and the sender.

Perhaps the emails were sent to make a point about how free speech can be harmful to LGBT people. That was the argument employed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Undergraduate Association President David Spicer. He hung up posters and chalked sidewalks with what he deemed to be anti-LGBT sayings to make a point about how free speech could be offensive. Spicer himself is LGBT and faced criticism for his stunt.

That’s just how LGBT people do it in New England. LGBT students at the University of Connecticut left “homophobic language” on the dorm room door of a “non-binary” student as well.

Other universities remain quiet on investigations, like when American University refused to divulge the race of the suspect who wrote “Black people suck” on a whiteboard, or when black Eastern Washington University students reported finding “F*** *** [n word] after their dance class.

The State University of New York Cortland sung different tunes about racism. It originally declared n-word and swastika graffiti “actions of bias, racism or hate,” but when asked by The Fix for comment a spokesperson said the school would not “speculate about the person’s motive for doing this.”

Meanwhile, a Penn State student, who is white, vandalized a Black Lives Matter flag at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania … but he did not know what the flag was. He had just been drinking too much with his friends. The university meanwhile declined to release more information on the students, and the local Selinsgrove police department said they have nothing they can add.

Similarly, a homeless “middle-aged Black male” reportedly vandalized the Black Student Union house at Florida State University.

Honorable mentions

Some cases do not fit clearly into one category.

Florida State University Professor Eric Stewart lost his job this year after failing to follow proper data procedures and after questions were raised about the accuracy of his findings. He writes about race and crime. One retracted paper claimed high levels of support among white people for lynching. In total, his questioned papers totaled over 3,000 citations by other scholars.

So, let’s say there were actually 3,019 hate crime hoaxes this year.

A special mention also goes to the movie about Michigan State University football head coach Duffy Daugherty. It allegedly portrays a black player as a partier and hard drinker who spoke in broken English, and also falsely portrays his white teammates as racists.

One final story explains why people might perpetrate race hoaxes — it pays.

That is what University of Virginia race hoaxer Zyahna Bryant found out after getting an endorsement deal from Dove to be a “fat liberation” advocate. Bryant’s past history of accusing a fellow student of joking about running over Black Lives Matters activists did not stop her from scoring this big deal.

Editor’s note: The article and headline were updated to reflect there have been at least 19 hate crime hoaxes this year.

MORE: Five DEI officers have resigned from this university within a year

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.