Oberlin College canceled classes Monday after someone reported spotting a person walking on campus wearing what appeared to be a Ku Klux Klan-like hooded robe, the latest in a month long string of racial incidents on the campus of a college that was among the first in the nation to begin regularly admitting Black students nearly two centuries ago.
School officials say that security and local police are investigating the report and that all classes and "nonessential activities" on campus have been suspended in order to hold a school wide discussion on the "challenging issues that have faced our community in recent weeks." Here's a snippet of the email sent to students today:
"We are here to notify you all that there has been yet another bias and racist event on campus. A person wearing KKK regalia was spotted on South Campus around midnight near the ELC and South. This has been another event in a string of several reflecting a terrible pattern of racism, prejudice, queerphobia, anti-semitism and other bias attacks that are happening on Oberlin's campus. At this time, advocacy, support and solidarity are necessary emotionally, physically and spiritually."
According to the Oberlin Review, the student-run campus newspaper, there have been at least a half-dozen reported incidents involving hate speech and vandalism since early February, including the scrawling of "nigger" on Black History Month materials, writing "Whites Only" above a school water fountain, and drawing a swastika on an LGBTQ poster. (Full list here.)