News & Politics

Dubious Hate Crime at Kansas State University Under Investigation

On Wednesday, the Kansas City Star reported on an alleged “hate crime” at Kansas State University — but the story may be falling apart. Their incendiary headline reads:

Car Near K-State Painted with ‘Go Home Nigger Boy’ and Students Are Fed Up

The FBI is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime:

One suspects that the case will be resolved fairly quickly. The first sentence in the Star’s story is now a correction:

This story has been updated to include a university spokesman saying that Kansas State does not have anyone enrolled at the university by the name that police say is the owner of the car.

The alleged victim had told the Star and others that he was a student at Kansas State. He is not. Jeff Morris, the VP for communications and marketing at K-State, said that the school has no record of the individual.

Via the Kansas City Star:

The man who called The Star said the vandalism and the resulting social media explosion has made it “impossible for me to go anywhere. I can’t drive my car anywhere without people stopping me.” The Star is not naming him for safety reasons.

He said he does not want the attention and has withdrawn from the university and intends to return to his home in California.

“I was not raised to discriminate,” he said. He called the vandalism “sad, hurtful and disappointing.”

Yes, apparently, the alleged victim was driving around town with racist graffiti all over his car and was surprised that it was drawing attention.

Then he told The Mercury Thursday morning he had not spoken with the Kansas City Star — which probably came as a surprise to the Kansas City Star. If he lied about being a student and about talking to the Star, what else could he being lying about?

The Star interviewed Andrew Hammond, the student journalist who tweeted about the incident, describing him as “a junior from Wichita studying mass communication at K-State.” Hammond, according to his Twitter bio, is a Black Lives Matter supporter. He said in a statement on Twitter that the victim, identified as Dauntarius Williams, also lied to him about being a student:

Nevertheless, Hammond told the Star that the vandalism was just “the latest racist incident to occur on K-State’s campus this year”:

In May, a noose was discovered hanging from a tree in the center of the K-State campus. At that time University President Richard Meyers issued a statement condemning the act. He called it “intolerable.”

University spokesman Jeff Morris said the university would not directly address the issue as a campus community concern until they had more information from police about the incident and the victim.

Morris is correct to withhold comments on the incident until more facts come out. It is often the case that student activists perpetrate such hoaxes as part of a “strategy to draw attention to concerns about the campus climate.”

Hammond told the Star about concerns black students at K-State have. A “major sticking point for students of color,” he said, is the fact that K-State does not have a multicultural center on its campus. He told the Star that such a facility “would help educate the campus community through programs and make students of color feel more included.”

Black students were able to voice their concerns at a meeting with top school officials Wednesday night in the wake of the vandalized car incident. Morris said the need for a multicultural center and progress on hiring a chief diversity officer were discussed during the meeting.

Earlier this week, the Kansas City Star reported uncritically on another alleged hate crime. In this case, someone allegedly “broke into” a predominantly black church, started a small fire, and defaced the front doors and windows with racist graffiti. The Star reported that the graffiti included “an ethnic slur directed at black people, the letters ‘KKK’ and what appeared to be an attempt at making a swastika.”

The culprit turned out to be a black church maintenance worker who was under the influence of drugs at the time, and who had faked the hate in an attempt to cover up his burglary.