Earlier today we ran excerpts of certain additional records produced by the Oberlin Police Department with regard to The Great Oberlin Racism Hoax of 2013, including portions of Oberlin College incident reports, in response to an Open Records request from Legal Insurrection.
In the post this morning, we mentioned that Oberlin College played some role as to which material would be redacted by the police, and also alerted students of the release in advance.
Subsequent to our post, we were forwarded by someone on campus the following email from the Oberlin Dean of Students last night blaiming “the blogosphere” for pressing for the records.
Sorry, but Oberlin has no one to blame but the Oberlin administration’s own cover-up of this hoax.
As we have documented before, and as the records released this morning further demonstrate, the Oberlin administration knew no later than February 27 that this was a hoax by students trolling for a reaction. There were no KKK supporters or Neo-Nazis prowling the hallways and buildings.
Yet the Oberlin administration never told the students, the alumni, or the media. Instead, the Oberlin administration allowed students to live in fear.
In the email last night, there still is no acknowledgement that the primary culprit behind this was a liberal pro-Obama “anti-racist” activist, and that it was not what it seemed. Oberlin thereby furthers the damage done by the hoax.
Instead of being upfront with the community, on March 4 classes on campus were canceled, student working groups were organized, and the hoax was exploited to advance “even more extreme policies”.
No apologies here for pressing for the truth to come out. “Blogosphere” or not.
Rather than an email blaiming the blogosphere, the Oberlin administration should circulate an email apologizing to students, faculty, staff and alumni. And the nation.
Here’s the full email (emphasis added):
From: Eric Estes <xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 6:03 PM
Subject: Important Information from the Dean of Students
To: [email protected]
I hope your semester has gotten off to a great start. I want to encourage you to take advantage of all the resources available to support you such as the class deans as well as new and enhanced resources focused on health and wellness (see my start of the year update on the Oncampus page). Please know that the my door and those of my colleagues are always open.
I also want to inform students of another important issue that has developed in the last couple of weeks. The City of Oberlin will soon release materials related to the Oberlin Police Department’s (OPD) investigation of the flood of racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic incidents that occurred in our community last winter and spring. Fueled by recent stories in the blogosphere, the City of Oberlin has received several requests for their complete records of the incidents, which they are treating as part of the public record. Those records include some Oberlin College Office of Safety and Security (S&S) reports of the incidents including the names of Oberlin students, faculty, and staff who reported those incidents in some cases. Each person likely to be affected has been contacted personally.
This undoubtedly raises some questions. First, we wanted to be sure to communicate with you in advance of the public records release. We want to be transparent. Second, let me assure you that the administration’s sharing of certain relevant S&S reports with the OPD occurred in response to a unique set of circumstances, and was undertaken in good faith to protect the health and safety of students by actively seeking law enforcement investigation and prosecution of suspected criminal behavior. At the time those reports were shared, there was no expectation that their contents would become public. Rather, College administrators were seeking law enforcement’s assistance in halting the bias incidents and holding alleged perpetrators accountable for their actions. Finally, we are working together with The City of Oberlin and the OPD to solve this problem moving forward. We are committed to doing everything possible to prevent this kind of situation from ever happening again.
Given the nature of this update and the questions that may arise, I will be holding special office hours to listen to you, to answer your questions, and to address any concerns. The office hours this week and next are as follows: Thursday, September 19th, 10-11 a.m.; Friday, September 20th, 1-2 p.m.; Monday, September 23rd, 4-5 p.m.; Tuesday, September 24th, 3:30-4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, September 25th, 11a.m.-12 p.m.; and Thursday, September 26th, 10-11 a.m. All the special office hours will be in Wilder 105.
Vice President and Dean of Students
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