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The Great Oberlin College Racism Hoax of 2013

The Great Oberlin College Racism Hoax of 2013

A massive racism hoax took place at Oberlin College in February 2013 in which two students made seemingly racist, anti-Semitic and other such posters, graffiti and emails for the purpose of getting a reaction on campus, not because they believed the hostile messages.  At least one of the two was an Obama supporter with strong progressive, anti-racist politics.

School officials and local police knew the identity of the culprits, who were responsible for most if not all of such incidents on campus, yet remained silent as the campus reacted as if the incidents were real.  National media attention focused on campus racism at Oberlin for weeks without knowing it was a hoax.

The hoax was confirmed when Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller recently obtained police records.  Now it’s out in the open.  Here is the history of how the hoax developed, played out in the media, and was covered up by the Oberlin administration.

The “hate” incidents cause campus and the media to erupt in protest

During February 2013 into early March, there were racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic postings on an Oberlin message board and in graffiti and signs around campus.

The issues burst onto the national media scene when a student claimed to see someone walking in a Klan robe late at night.

Left-wing websites like ran with the story with dramatic flair:

Slate - Oberlin KKK

It turned out that the Klan sighting at Oberlin likely was just a woman wrapped in a blanket, but no matter, Oberlin erupted in protest and classes were cancelled to that on campus solidarity rallies could be held.

Lena Dunham, an Oberlin grad, tweeted about it:

Dunham’s tweets were news in themselves, via AP:

Lena Dunham AP Racism Oberlin

The New York Times, among dozens of newspapers, covered the story, publishing photos of the protests.

The incidents were used to draw larger conclusions about society, and particularly about conservatives and Republicans, as in this column at, Oberlin’s Racism Blemish:

How does a progressive institution like Oberlin find itself in this situation? This is a student body whose members know the history and commitment to upholding a liberal, tolerant educational atmosphere long before that arrive on campus. How is it that such madness infects one of the premier institutions of broadmindedness?

The sad truth is that the infection of intolerance is pervasive in American society in the age of Obama. We’re living in an era when Supreme Court justices consider the right to vote for African-Americans to be a form of “racial entitlement.” We’re in a period where Republican candidates for president cavalierly refer to the nation’s first Black commander-in-chief as the “food stamp president.” This is the period in American history that has seen the most highly orchestrated assault on minority voting since the end of Reconstruction. And in the midst of it are Republican elected officials boasting about it.

Melissa Harris-Perry was all over it, along with Ta-Nehisi Coates, using the Oberlin experience to draw larger points about racism:

Thirty-six alumni from the Oberlin Asian/Pacific American Alumni Association wrote an open letter of support:

… we write to express our solidarity with the students who spoke out and held the institution to account: continue to be bold, we stand with you. Seek comfort in the fact that you will emerge from these experiences stronger and more resilient. We empathize with your struggles and heartache in the wake of recent events and applaud your sustained efforts to actively and swiftly combat the racism, homophobia, xenophobia, gender-based violence and other forms of oppression as they continue to plague our society. This fight continues not only in the microcosm of Oberlin, but in many of the communities where we, as alumni, currently live, work and struggle. Your struggle is ours.

Students from other colleges expressed solidarity, like this letter signed by dozens of Williams College students:

… Please know that you are not alone in your struggle. Please know that you are not the first to march these paths. Please know you are paving the ways for others. You know too well that your actions are being watched and discussed by many, but please remember you have allies, too. Though we are scattered far and are often quiet, we hold you close in our hearts. We hope that you see this letter as an extension of our student-to-student kinship.

As a family, we are stronger than the demons that we face. In solidarity,

The Oberlin Administration put up a Wall of Silence

I smelled a rat, and investigated rumors that this was a hoax. I was met with a stone wall of silence from the Oberlin administration and students, Oberlin declines to comment on motivations of students behind writings (March 6):

I asked [Press Spokesman]Scott] Wargo if the Oberlin administration had any reason to believe that these were a hoax. He said that he “can’t speak to the motive behind the writings.” I tried that question several different ways and the response was similar.

Wargo refused to confirm that these were acts motivated by racism not a hoax:

Q. “Does the administration believe these were acts of racism?”

A. “Again, it’s an ongoing investigation and I can’t add anything beyond that.”

Oberlin went into communications shut down, Oberlin pretty good at keeping secret the identities and motives of perps (March 7):

Local police are quoted as saying they have identified two students possibly connected to the rash of racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay writings on campus, but were uncertain as to their motives.

As detailed yesterday, the Oberlin administration is not willing to talk about it, to the point of being unwilling to confirm or deny that it was a hoax or whether racism was the motive.

And surprisingly, the names and motives have not leaked out yet (at least not that I have been able to find).

Oberlin, despite the campus having devolved into an online spitting war, is keeping those secrets pretty well covered.

The students and administration had to know early on in March that this was a hoax.  The student newspaper published a report that the connections between the online postings and the campus graffiti already was made:

The Oberlin student newspaper indicates the hunt for the perpetrators continues, which would be contrary to what the police have said:

Mounting circumstantial evidence — including timestamps, common IP addresses, mimicked content and online accounts analyzed by the Review, as well as interviews with confidential sources — strongly suggests a link between hate speech appearing on anonymous Oberlin online forums and incidents of written hate speech on campus.

Incredibly, Oberlin referred the matter to the FBI for investigation, but Oberlin and local police already knew, or soon would learn, it was a hoax.

The Oberlin College President had multiple opportunities to set the record straight, including when CNN Interviewed him live on national television, but he just played along with these being hate incidents:

I didn’t give up, and followed up, Oberlin update — two white male student suspects but motives unclear (May 3)

“The college’s investigation into the bias incidents led to the identification of two students who may be responsible. Both have been removed from campus.”

Wargo declined to comment on the status of the prosecution or what steps Oberlin had taken other than removal from campus, or as to the gender and race of the suspects, citing educational privacy:

“I can’t speak to what the prosecutor’s office may or may not be doing. To your second question, I am not permitted to disclose information pertaining to any student’s education records.”

As of this writing Wargo has not responded to a follow up email as to the college’s position on whether the acts were motivated by racism or were a hoax to create the appearance of racism.

We still don’t know who the students are, but people on campus must know. I reached out to the editors of the Oberlin student newspaper, The Oberlin Review, for comment but received no response.

The Hoax exposed through police records

It all turns out this was a hoax perpetrated by two progressive students on campus.

Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller obtained the police report through a public records and identifies the two students who admitted to doing most, if not all, of the graffiti and signs as a hoax to get a reaction from campus.

The Daily Caller identifies the two culprits as Dylan Bleier and Matt Alden.

Bleier was an Obama supporter, as shown in an event link found by The Daily Caller.  His Linked In profile (which now has been taken down) reflects his politics:

Oberlin Student Linked Interests

Oberlin Student Linked In Political Parties

School officials and police knew who was behind the campus incidents weeks before the supposed KKK siting and campus protests, as reported by The Daily Caller:

On February 11, a female student claimed that both Bleier and Alden were  making derogatory comments about her online.  She also stated “she had  reason to believe that Alden and Bleier were responsible not only for the  obscene posts about her but also the derogatory fliers that are being posted  around campus.” The student said that Alden and Bleier “are good friends and  always together.”

According to the student, someone using the email address [email protected] directed her to a  derogatory comment that had been posted about her online.

On February 13, a student reported to campus officials that a racist  flier had appeared on her door. The flier made a derogatory reference to Black  History Month and — in all capital letters — the sexual assault of “A WHITE  WOMAN!”

The unidentified student said she believed that Bleier and Alden were  “responsible for this flyer being posted on her door.”

On February 15, a large handmade poster of a Nazi flag with a swastika  was discovered taped inside the windows of the second floor of the Science Hall.  Bleier was later found to have after-hours access to the Science Center.

The police report shows that school officials questioned Bleier and Alden.  The report says that the two students admitted to leaving at least some of the  markings, literature, and other paraphernalia across campus as a “joke” or a  “troll.”

Oberlin police later subpoenaed IP records from Google and determined that  Bleier was behind the fake Krislov account. Krislov initially indicated that he  wanted to pursue an investigation but he did not follow through with the  complaint, the police report says.

On February 27, Oberlin security officers finally caught Bleier and Alden —  apparently red-handed — in the process of their hateful message circulation. At  the time, according to the report, one of the students had discarded a piece of  paper reading: “Islam. It kills.” …

At one point, police records say, Bleier wrote a statement in [police officer] Burton’s office  claiming responsibility for the flier left on the door of a female  student February 5. He also owned up to responsibility for some cards  containing the word “niggermania.”

The two denied involvement in prior incidents, but the incidents to which they admitted constituted the bulk of the incidents reported by the student newspaper as having taken place, including the one involving a Nazi flag, as reported by The Daily Caller:

“I printed out a page of racist ‘niggermania’ cards to show to friends as a  joke/for the shock value,” he allegedly wrote, adding that he had somehow  accidently left them sitting in a lounge on campus.

“Matt Alden and I made a giant Nazi flag as a joke to troll people and put it  up in the science center,” Bleier also confessed, the police report says.

He claimed to have had nothing to do with any of the other swastikas strewn  around campus, but then allegedly wrote, “I posted Krislov’s head photoshopped  onto Hitler’s body LoL.”

Comments left by Bleier on an official campus blog suggest that  Bleier disagreed with an article Krislov wrote addressing some of the  name-calling on a contentious discussion board called ObieTalk.  Bleier  asked what moral authority Oberlin had in the first place, “especially after  approving the switch to frack gas…”

Alden categorically denied involvement in spreading the Nazi imagery, writing  in a statement, “I had nothing to do with any swastika banner or other sickening  Nazi paraphernalia.”

School officials and police also knew it was a hoax, not intended to express actual racist or other such sentiments, but to get a reaction on campus, yet they allowed the campus and the nation to go through hand wringing as if these were real acts of racism.

A student interviewed by The Daily Caller who knew Bleier and Alden did not think they were racist, did it as pranks, and were behind all of the incidents:

“I wouldn’t consider the individuals involved to be racists,” he said.   ”I think they were kind of troublemakers trying to stir up the pot a  little bit.”

The student, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also suggested that  Alden got a kick out of messing with people. “Matt was more of the prankster,”  he explained. “Considering they were trolls, they were kind of getting what they  wanted out of people getting so upset about it.”

But “then it got to the point where they realized it was bigger than they  imagined it could become,” the student added.

The student thinks that Bleier and Alden were likely behind all of the  hateful graffiti that marred that campus during the string of incidents in  February.  He also said that Alden and Bleier had been suspended and  removed from campus before the March 4 report of someone wearing KKK  attire.

One other Oberlin alum, who commented at the time of the incidents, was prophetic as well:

Oberlin is my alma mater, and I can confirm the general sentiment that it’s a haven for progressive thought…. Whoever is behind the KKK garb, the “whites only” and swastika graffiti, and everything else, he/she/they are doing it with the purpose of provoking a reaction. They will probably get caught, and their lives will never be the same.

Just another campus racism hoax, but bigger

This was just another in a long line of campus racism hoaxes, but bigger.  I’m quoted in The Daily Caller article as follows:

Cornell University law professor William Jacobson, who tracked the Oberlin story  at his blog Legal Insurrection, said the fraudulent hate-related incidents “may  be the greatest race hoax since Tawana Brawley.”

Jacobson has unsuccessfully reached out to Oberlin officials for comment on  the incidents on several occasions.

“Oberlin allowed the entire country to go through months of handwringing over  supposedly racist incidents knowing full well it was a hoax,” Jacobson told  TheDCNF. “If the president of Oberlin knew of this hoax and allowed Oberlin  falsely to be portrayed as a racist campus, he should resign.”

Michelle Malkin, an Oberlin alumna, called this a hoax from the beginning. Oberlin College: Still manufacturing hate crimes hoaxes after all these years:

My crazy alma mater is at it again….

So, as soon as I read the fresh reports this week about a purported racist in a “KKK” hood lurking on Oberlin’s campus and reports of bigoted graffiti/vandalism, the fake hate crime alarm bells went off.

And so it goes. The “KKK” hood appears to have been a student in a blanket and it is not clear if the “hate speech” was of malicious intent or meant to be a purposely provocative exercise of free speech by sympathetic students….

Nothing has changed. The self-victimization/manufactured racism impulse at Oberlin — and at so many higher mis-education institutions across the country — is as strong and poisonous as ever.

I was right. Michele Malkin was right.

The enormity of the hoax cannot be overstated, and it could not have taken place without the cover up by the Oberlin administration.  Had Oberlin’s President gone on television or issued a statement that the acts were a hoax, the campus and media would not have devoted weeks to portraying Oberlin as having a racism problem.

The Oberlin administration has a lot of answering to do to the community, the nation, and to Oberlin alumni.  How must those alumni feel to see their school smeared based on a hoax.  Will Lena Dunham now tweet about it?  Will CNN cover the hoax aspect as deeply as it did the incidents?  Will Melissa Harris-Perry talk about the role of racist hoaxes in creating a false narrative of racism?

[Note: The order of paragraphs was changed after publication to correct an initial editing mistake.]


Update: What did the Oberlin Board of Trustees know about the racism hoax, and when did it know it?


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I remember when Vile Progs called themselves “the reality-based community”.

These progressives don’t want racial harmony, and they never did. Without division, they have no reason to exist.

There is NOTHING that these progressives will stoop to in order to increase their view of “awareness” despite the falsehoods employed.

Behavior that is so repulsive yet is is tolerated by liberal academia and embraced by many in the administration.

But I’m not surprised at all as it is business as usual…

So, maybe there wasn’t actual racism at Oberlin, but it most certainly exists elsewhere, and these loyal progs had a duty to expose it, and begin a “national conversation about race”.

The claims of racism were “false but accurate”.

You can see by Bleier’s profile how immersed and dedicated to “the cause” he is, and most certainly feels justified.

Institutions of Higher Learning have positioned themselves to pump out millions of these enlightened minds. These are the same minds that our GOP Fathers tell us we need to seek common ground, and compromise.

Just googled one of the “trolls” — Dylan Bleier:

Dylan Bleier (DylanBleier) on Twitter‎
@DylanBleier. Chemist/physicist working toward a solar energy future. atheist/ pacifist/environmentalist/libertarian socialist/consequentialist. Ithaca, NY ·.

“Libertarian socialist?”

His tweets confirm his far left politics. (Among other predictable issues, he is disturbed by what he perceives as Rush Limbaugh’s racism.)

More. Oberlin Review article Dec 7 2012:
” College sophomore Dylan Bleier [commenting on anonymous online forums]:
‘Free speech should be protected unless it’s actively inciting hate or violence against a group,’ said Bleier. ‘If so, legal action should be taken.’ ”

There are plenty of injustices to fight. I don’t understand why progressives feel the need to invent imaginary ones. It leads me to believe that they’re just too chickenhearted to face the real ones.

    Aridog in reply to gxm17. | August 22, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Easy answer … they only want “injustices” to fight that they can control completely. Much less risk that way. No need for facts. No necessity to face unpleasant realities, or solve real problems, improve lives, and so forth. It’s all about the noble progressive, right? No one and nothing else counts.

    9thDistrictNeighbor in reply to gxm17. | August 22, 2013 at 8:47 am

    All the result of years of operant conditioning–a subject pushes a lever, food comes out. The stakes are changed: the subject pushes the lever multiple times until the food comes out and the lever-pushing behavior is strengthened. It doesn’t matter whether it was a hoax. If it takes several really great hoaxes to get a result, they’ll keep playing cards. Ask Rev. Al.

    Alex Bensky in reply to gxm17. | August 22, 2013 at 9:50 am

    The answer is indeed easy. Note that the administration knew who was perpetrating this and did nothing to stop it.

    To the authoritarian, i.e. leftist, mind, for one thing actual facts are, you know, kind of patriarchal and bourgeois. Like the Duke 88, what’s more important is the underlying reality. Or as Joe Schultz, former manager of the Seattle Pilots, once said, “Tell your statistics to shut up.”

    But the more important reason is this: You get to cancel classes and have rallies and seminars and demonstrations, all of which is intended to stir up the base and cause the dissenters to keep quiet. It’s also a chance to show one’s moral superiority which is, I think, an important reason why many people become leftists.

    There’s not a lot of psychological difference between what Oberlin did and the Cultural Revolution, is there?

DINORightMarie | August 22, 2013 at 8:40 am

If the Oberlin president, knowing this was a hoax, actually did request an FBI investigation, then he should be prosecuted for falsely reporting a “hate crime” to the federal agency. Perhaps some jail time will help his progressive sympathies……

Not only should he resign, but he should also be barred from working as an administrator in ANY institution of education.

He can’t be trusted.

[…] Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has a good round-up of the initial reports, and he breaks down the […]

Richard Aubrey | August 22, 2013 at 9:25 am

Back in the day, the Oberlin student body duked it out with the feds and slave catchers during the reign of the fugitive slave act. It was well-done of them, they not having matriculated to a prarie college expecting such a thing.
But they’ve been dining out on the story ever since. Everything they do is tinged with the fight against racism, as if the slave catchers are just crossing the Ohio River heading north again.
Without racism, they’d have to find some other reason for self-appointed distinction, and…having not bothered with anything else, they don’t have any ideas at all.
So if there is no racism, it must be invented.

[…] must-read: Professor William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, who did his own intrepid reporting on the lying liars at Oberlin and has a thorough recap of the […]

NC Mountain Girl | August 22, 2013 at 9:44 am

Without the hoax would they have any narrative at all?

The people running all these awareness seminars have to be some of the most obtuse, reactionary clods around.

Henry Hawkins | August 22, 2013 at 9:46 am

‘Wag the dog’ ops are not limited to military actions, and that needs to go on the watch list for progressive false flag tactics.

There really aren’t a lot of white-on-black racial incidents in this country. Some people need it for their narrative, so they make up incidents due to the shortage of supply.

Hamas does this, too. They slander Jews, as part of their advertising campaign to convince individual Muslims that they have a duty to kill every Jew on the face of the earth.

Radicals and progressives in the United States copy Hamas.

[…] Update: That Thing at Oberlin That I Said Was a Hoax? It Was a Hoax. […]

Midwest Rhino | August 22, 2013 at 10:18 am

The age of the orchestrated leftist hoax.

Oberlin stages national news of hate crimes … HOAX.

Climate change is caused by man’s CO2. …. HOAX

50 mass shootings in gun free zones, “the people demand more gun free zones” … HOAX

Most illegal aliens honestly do work Americans won’t … HOAX

Benghazi was caused by that video …. HOAX

Obama never heard Wright’s racist anti-American rants … HOAX

Phony Scandals …. HOAX

There is only one conclusion the media can draw from all these hoaxes … “The Tea Party is racist, bigoted and ignorant.”

Oberlin College is a private liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio, noteworthy for having been the first American institution of higher learning to regularly admit female and black students.

This hoax is the kind of thing that happens when people constantly live in the past. They are sorry that they couldn’t be there for the big encounters of the 60’s, etc. They want to relive those “glory years” by doing stupid stuff like this hoax.

The here and now may suck, but it won’t get any better until these folks get their minds and spirits out of the past.

Nothing looks nastier than a tattoo defacing the skin.

Richard Aubrey | August 22, 2013 at 10:35 am

Neo. The people who did the work in the glory years took risks, some moderate, some terrible. Some were hurt, some killed, all were looking over their shoulder. And the northern folks all found out how nervous they’d been when they discovered their antennae relaxing as they crossed the Ohio River heading north.
These clowns…pfft.

[…] must-read: Professor William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, who did his own intrepid reporting on the lying liars at Oberlin and has a thorough recap of the […]

[…] Oberlin College Cancels Classes To Address Racial Incidents The Great Oberlin College Racism Hoax of 2013 Meet the privileged Obama-supporting white kids who perpetrated cruel Oberlin race hoax Once […]

[…] “A massive racism hoax took place at Oberlin College in February 2013,” Prof. William A. Jacobson writes at his Legal Insurrection blog. Two Oberlin students “made seemingly racist, anti-Semitic and other such posters, graffiti and emails for the purpose of getting a reaction on campus, not because they believed the hostile messages.  At least one of the two was an Obama supporter with strong progressive, anti-racist politics: […]

This type of thing happened at Denison University complete with huge (mandatory) discussion sessions, etc. More info at

[…] This would have been a hate crime if it had been true and it is twice as wrong because it was a damnable lie which, as Oberlin alumna Michelle Malkin makes clear, the administration was willing to accept as a pretext for more of their endless “diversity” indoctrinations. The usual suspects were part of the dishonest cover-up: […]

[…] William Jacobson has written a detailed report which follows the timeline of the entire incident and serves as a reminder of how the left treated the story… […]

[…] months of hand-wringing over the highly publicizied incidents. William Jacobsen summed it up well on his blog, Legal Insurrection: “School officials and local police knew the identity of the culprits, who […]

[…] are other adults who deserve to be called out. As Cornell law professor and blogger William Jacobson, who has pressed the administration for months about the cover-up, notes: “Oberlin continues […]

[…] This would have been a hate crime if it had been true and it is twice as wrong because it was a damnable lie which, as Oberlin alumna Michelle Malkin makes clear, the administration was willing to accept as a pretext for more of their endless “diversity” indoctrinations. The usual suspects were part of the dishonest cover-up: […]

[…] That’s the short version: you can and should read the whole disturbing story on the two websites—yes, they are conservative websites, but it isn’t their fault that their Left-biased competition didn’t do their jobs—that helped discover the hoax and break the story: The Daily Caller, here, and Legal Insurrection, here. […]

[…] are other adults who deserve to be called out. As Cornell law professor and blogger William Jacobson, who has pressed the administration for months about the cover-up, notes: “Oberlin continues […]

[…] you don’t read anything else at all this weekend, PLEASE read this in full.  The below is an excerpt (hat […]

[…] Professor Jacobson just published an expose on the race-based hoax perpetrated at Oberlin College. […]

[…] the website Legal Insurrection, which smelled a rat from the beginning, confirmed that “school officials and local police knew the identity of the culprits, who were responsible […]

[…] Click over to read how Oberlin called the FBI even after they secretly knew it was a hoax.  Also media like Melissa “Tampon Ears” Harris-Perry’s hysterical reaction and Lena Dunham (or whatever her name is) hand-wringing tweets. […]

[…] Why did she have to ask? It turned out that the latest “hate crimes” scandal was a hoax perpetrated by our friends on the left. From Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion: […]

[…] William Jacobson is one the smartest, funniest, coolest and most decent men with whom I’ve ever had the opportunity to work. He is an amazing writer and thinker who can see a news cycle from a mile away and predict where the story is going with astounding accuracy. […]

[…] William A. Jacobsen summarizes the Oberlin race […]

[…] The Great Oberlin College Racism Hoax of 2013 A massive racism hoax took place at Oberlin College in February 2013 in which two students made seemingly racist, anti-Semitic and other such posters, graffiti and emails for the purpose of getting a reaction on campus, not because they believed the hostile messages. At least one of the two was an Obama supporter with strong progressive, anti-racist politics. […]

In light of the revelations that Obama supporters – Dylan Bleier and Matt Alden – fabricated a race hoax that the Oberlin administration covered up, shouldn’t those feckless students and the school repay every penny to the folks who lost a day of value in their education?

How much does a day in Oberlin College cost the average student?

This seems like a ripe opportunity for a fresh law grad to sue the school and the feckless liberals who made literal, and illegal, straw-men opponents.

So, the actual phony scandals reveal that some liberals are simply projecting the hate they fabricate on behalf of others. Literally projecting it.

Obama and his ilk are a hoax on the nation.