News & Politics

St. Olaf College Shuts Down Over Anonymous Racist Note

St. Olaf College students fill Tomson Hall to boycott classes and demand action and dialogue after numerous acts of incidents of racial hate on campus, Monday, May 1, 2017 in Northfield, Minn. Hundreds of students boycotted classes at St. Olaf College on Monday, instead packing an administration building to protest a rash of racist and threatening messages left around campus. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)

Small, Lutheran St. Olaf College in Minnesota sounds like an unlikely race battleground. But after an anonymous note was reportedly found by a student on her car Saturday morning, students staged sit-ins and professors canceled classes:

The sit-in followed unrest on Saturday during which angry students blocked entrances to campus buildings and demanded redress for a string of alleged racial incidents on campus.

“The students have taken over the campus like a coup,” Kathryn Hinderaker, vice president of the College Republicans, told The College Fix in a telephone interview Monday.

In the recent past, conservative students there have voiced concern over being “violently threatened” at the Lutheran college, but the protests began Saturday after a black female student at the college found a typewritten note on her car that used the n-word. She posted it on social media and outraged ensued.

“I am so glad that you are leaving soon. One less [n-word] that this school has to deal with,” the anonymous note said. “You have spoken up too much. You will change nothing. Shut up or I will shut you up.”

The anonymous note was “the seventh reported act of hate speech on St. Olaf’s campus during the 2016-17 academic year,” according to the campus newspaper. Other incidents have included notes left for students with the n-word on it and another that read “Go back to Africa.”

A number of students have reportedly received these notes. Many — perhaps most — similar campus incidents following the election of Donald Trump were found to be hoaxes. However, even if these notes turn out to be legitimate criminal threats with racist motivations, they do not excuse St. Olaf’s student body from some of the behavior reported.

While sit-ins are annoying, they’re a classic example of civil disobedience. But the following report depicts much worse:

A source who reached out to The College Fix on Monday via email said a friend of hers was working in the library Saturday evening and was allegedly pushed aside by a throng of student protesters who demanded she turn over the library intercom for them to make an announcement.

“When she refused, they stormed the circulation desk and forcibly grabbed the intercom mic to make their announcement,” said the source, who wished to remain anonymous for safety concerns. “They also ripped the phone out of her hand and off the wall when she tried to call the police.”

As with the notes, this report is not confirmed.

Intimidation and criminal acts are a terrible way to make your point — especially when you are randomly targeting the general public, which overwhelmingly despises the act of leaving an anonymous threatening racist note already. And considering how many incidents of supposed racism turn out to have been carried out by the same attention-seeking crowd that causing such disturbances in response, St. Olaf’s students would have been well advised to hold off before blowing up.

Not that truth matters to college protesters these days.