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The afternoon convocation Monday, March 4, 2013, 3:30 p.m. EST will be live streamed at

Today, the local Fox-TV affiliate in Cleveland Ohio refers to a 130 am incident: "KKK Figure Spotted on Oberlin Campus". "Last week, a swastika and other graffiti appeared in Oberlin's Conservatory of Music. Earlier last month, anti-Semitic, racist and homphobic graffiti was found on the campus".

Feb. 16; Students found a number of offensive notes written around Burton Hall. "Whites Only" was written above a water fountain, "Nigger Oven" was written inside the elevator and "No Niggers" was written on a bathroom door.

Feb. 17; The Office of Safety and Security released a Special Alert of a strong-arm robbery of a student near West College Street and Cedar Street. The student reported that he was approached by an individual who made a derogatory remark about his perceived ethnicity and then physically knocked him to the ground.


In the southern part of Ohio a 2012 article noted that "The number of Klan members in Ohio has dwindled down to about 200 from the thousands of members present in the ’20s," However Tony Mayle, a half black doctoral student at Ohio University noted, “Some people argue that KKK doesn’t exist, But we know what time of the night we can’t go out and which restaurants we can’t go to.”
Oberlin Cancels Classes After Series of ‘Hate-Related Incidents’
Published: March 4, 2013

Oberlin College canceled classes on Monday and convened a “day of solidarity” instead, after a person wearing a robe and hood appeared near its Afrikan Heritage House early Monday morning, the latest in a string of what it described as hate-related incidents and vandalism in the last month.

That event and a number of others are being investigated by the college’s security staff and the Oberlin city police.

The sighting of the person on Monday, “in addition to the series of other hate-related incidents on campus, has precipitated our decision to suspend formal classes and all nonessential activities for today, Monday, March 4, 2013, and gather for a series of discussions of the challenging issues that have faced our community in recent weeks,” according to a statement issued by Marvin Krislov, Oberlin’s president, and three college deans.

In the last month, a number of racist and antigay messages have been left around campus, a jarring incongruity in a place with the liberal political leanings and traditions of Oberlin, a school of 2,800 students in Ohio, about 30 miles southwest of Cleveland. Guides to colleges routinely list it as among the most liberal, activist and gay-friendly schools in the country.

“I’m not sure why anyone is doing it, but those actions have made people uneasy and say we need to come together and discuss this,” said Scott Wargo, an Oberlin spokesman.

Founded in 1833, Oberlin was one of the first colleges in the nation to educate women and men together, and one of the first to admit black students. Before the Civil War, it was an abolitionist hotbed and an important stop on the underground railroad.

       Underground Railroad sculpture on Oberlin College campus

Some updates at Twitter and Oberlin campus radio

Map of hate groups in Ohio

More interesting in the Gawker article is this bit reflecting the Town/Gown issues that may contribute to the situation:

This source also speculated that the incident is likely related to Oberlin's infamous "no-trespass list," "a list of townies and college alumni who are banned from all college property," managed by the college and kept secret from the town. The college has long denied the list's existence—but last week it was leaked to the local paper by the Oberlin Police Department, with whom the list was shared. This list contains a number of "successful and well-connected" alumni, and we've heard that Oberlin's legal counsel is "reeling" over the leak of the list, which was meant to be kept confidential.
see and

1:23 PM PT: TPM details

The person who was seen dressed in KKK regalia on the campus of Oberlin Collge & Conservatory was spotted from a moving vehicle by a student "in the neighborhood of 1:30 in the morning" on Monday, a spokesman for the school told TPM.

Scott Wargo, director of media relations at Oberlin, said that the eyewitness then drove around the block in the hopes of getting a better look, but the person who was said to be wearing a white hood and robe was nowhere to be found. The student then called the college's safety and security office.

Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 10:00 AM PT: interesting post script since the College seems to have discovered that the perpetrators are students and seem to be in the process of being separated (loco parentis in action) making the post-convocation blogs interesting

The reactions from some of my peers have been interesting. I recall in the convocation, one student stood up to talk, and in the course of their speech used a word that, ironically, we had all convened in that auditorium to denounce. I of course found it inappropriate, for what it connotes, but, bewilderingly, some in the auditorium applauded. That is the product of identity privilege, and misunderstanding. Our identities, regardless of whether we are conscious of their operation, have a bearing on how we respond to sensitivities such as these.

In the conversations I have had in the wake of yesterday's events, I have realized that there are problems of understanding emanating from the fact that people have been affected variously, perhaps due to their situation in the identity matrix or possibly other reasons. In the conversations I hope we will have in the future, I think it will be paramount to become self aware of our own identities when entering conversation. In those cases in which we harbor privilege, it may be helpful to be conscious of that privilege. [And as Prof. Meredith Raimondo pointed out, ALL people will acquire and lose privilege at different junctures of a formation depending on the context.] And in those cases in which we have no privilege, it may be prudent to contain our identities from obscuring our ability to respond objectively.

If true this episode seems much like the plot of a Sarah Jessica Parker movie:
Spinning into Butter is a 2008 drama film written by Rebecca Gilman and loosely based on her play of the same title. It was directed by first-time director Mark Brokaw and produced by Sarah Jessica Parker, who also stars in the film. Spinning into Butter was sold for distribution Cannes Film Market on May 17, 2007 and opened in the U.S. in March, 2009. The film concerns political correctness and racial identity. When a New England liberal arts college experiences a hate crime against one of its few black students, the school's dean of students (Parker) must respond publicly to the incident while privately confronting her own latent racism and prejudice.

Originally posted to eState4Column5©2013 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 09:32 AM PST.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges, DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY, and Black Kos community.

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