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Police release more records as to Oberlin College racism hoax

Police release more records as to Oberlin College racism hoax

Updated post: Oberlin College blames the blogosphere


The Oberlin College racism hoax of 2013 involved, among other things, a liberal pro-Obama “anti-racist” student activist who decided to “troll” the campus to get a reaction by posting racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and homophobic signs and messages.

It worked, as the campus erupted and the national media obsessed on what the racism meant in society, not knowing this was a hoax. The Oberlin knew this was a hoax, but never told students or the public.  Instead, the Oberlin racism hoax exploited to advance “even more extreme policies”

A Police Report obtained in August by Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller exposed the hoax. The Daily Caller also identified two people believed to be behind many if not most of the incidents.

After reviewing that Police Report, on August 26, 2013, Legal Insurrection filed a follow up Open Records request because the Police Report was just a summary. We sought, among other things, the original police records including all communications with Oberlin College. We also sought the underlying Oberlin College incident reports which were given to the police.

The records release has been reviewed not only by Oberlin College officials — who warned students involved that the records release was coming — but also by the City Attorney in Oberlin.

After much delay, due in part to the desire of Oberlin College to make sure that confidential information was not released, the Oberlin police produced the records this morning.  (added) It does not appear they provided everything we asked for, so there may need to be more follow up.

The records are heavily redacted, but shed great light on what happened, including that Oberlin College officials were closely involved in and monitoring the investigation.  [Note: Redactions in black box format were added by us to protect the identity/cell phone numbers of students/staff who complained, although such information was not redacted by the police.  While we were under no obligation to do so, we felt it appropriate.]

Oberlin President Marvin Krislov in particular was furious as to the creation and use of a gmail account in his name, and sought a prosecution of the culprit:

Oberlin Krislov Email re Gmail Account

It will take some time for a complete review of these records, which are over 200 pages. So expect additional posts and updates to this post.

Here are the handwritten notes of the suspects during their interviews (the numbers next to redactions are the statutory ground upon which the redaction was made):

Pages From Oberlin OH Police Open Records Release – Suspect Handwritten Statements

(Added) As part of the production of documents today by the Oberlin police department, the police released the interview notes of Oberlin College’s Director of Public Safey, Marjorie Burton, with one of the suspects. The interview was on February 27, and the suspect admitted involvement, but stated that it was just in “fun and jest.” The suspect then went on to smile when questioned about a photoshop placing Oberlin President Marvin Krislov’s head on Hitler, after being told Krislov was Jewish:

Oberlin Burton Interview 2-27 excerpt

Pages From Oberlin OH Police Open Records Release – 9-19-2013 – Marjorie Burton Interview With Suspect

Here is one of the posters put up on campus. The funny/sick thing, is that this is the sort of thing we see routinely from anti-Israel BDS activists, except for the “Third Reich lives” language (note, we redacted in block the portion of the incident report to remove identifying information as to the complaining student, even thought the Police left that information in the production):

Oberlin Poster Anti-Israel - incident report

Oberlin Poster Anti-Israel

The poster also was used without the Third Reich reference:

Oberlin Poster Anti-Israel w out handwriting

The racist posters were worse than I had imagined:

Oberlin - MLK hate poster - Incident Report

Oberlin - MLK hate poster

Oberlin Celebrate Rape White Woman - Incident Report

Oberlin Celebrate Rape White Woman


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Looking up Ohio Statute 143.49 (A)(2)(b)

149.43 Availability of public records for inspection and copying.
(A) As used in this section:
“2) “Confidential law enforcement investigatory record” means any record that pertains to a law enforcement matter of a criminal, quasi-criminal, civil, or administrative nature, but only to the extent that the release of the record would create a high probability of disclosure of any of the following:
(b) Information provided by an information source or witness to whom confidentiality has been reasonably promised, which information would reasonably tend to disclose the source’s or witness’s identity;”

Who promised this witness confidentiality? It is either the college itself, which has a conflict of interest in this regard, or an investigator who is potentially offering a plea bargain for further testimony.

I understand the need for confidentiality, but is there no recourse to disclose for parties that have an obvious conflict on interest in providing such confidentiality?

Disgusting. IMO, only someone with hateful heart would find any of that swill “funny.”

    Paul in reply to gxm17. | September 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    This is the state of our education system today. I believe Oberlin is merely a representative of a much cancerous whole.

OK… maybe I am dense. Why is the identity of this individual being redacted?

    Anchovy, the reason is that the witness identity is held confidential pending investigation, or was promised confidentiality through other legal means, such as college privacy laws. Though I question that above in my 1st post.

One other note. Does the public disclosure of Marvin Krislov’s name indicate that an indictment has or will be issued?

What a cool, provocative and topical movie this would make. Too bad the story will never see the light of day.

Phillep Harding | September 19, 2013 at 8:00 pm

I’m fairly good at decoding handwriting, but that first one above is beyond me.

Hi Professor Jacobson,

I’m a student at Oberlin College and I was hoping to get access to the records released yesterday. Do you know how I would go about getting the records? Any information would be greatly appreciated!