Oberlin College commemorated a “Day of Solidarity” Monday after a month rife with race-fueled vandalism targeted toward the school’s black, Jewish and LGBT communities. Administrators suspended classes to promote school-wide discussions of racial tolerance and counter-narratives. The “Day of Solidarity” was organized in the wake of a Ku Klux Klan-clad person traipsing through campus near the school’s Afrikan Heritage house. It was the seventh incident to occur at Oberlin since the beginning of Black History Month.
Other reports from the Office of Communications note the defamation of Black History Month posters with racial slurs, swastikas drawn throughout the campus and “Nigger Oven” written in an elevator.
Oberlin’s students are responding vigilantly, using the campus newspaper and other outlets to express their disbelief and disgust.
Eliza Diop, liaison to the Student Senate, penned an email to the student body. She wrote, “This has been another event in a string of several reflecting a terrible pattern of racism, prejudice, queerphobia, anti-semitism and other bias attacks that are happening on Oberlin’s campus. At this time, advocacy, support and solidarity are necessary emotionally, physically and spiritually.”
Students have also created a blog detailing the vandalism through photos and testimonies. Obie Microaggressions was created in an effort to “expose the truth and dispel the false narrative that all of our students are ‘radical,’ ‘liberal,’ or ‘progressive,’ and that our campus is free from marginalization.” The blog’s creators are using it promote education and empowerment.
Oberlin was one of the first colleges in the United States to admit black students and want to continue promoting racial inclusivity. The college has scheduled convocation on Wednesday to align with the “Day of Solidarity,” but classes will resume tomorrow.
Is Oberlin College doing enough to address racism at its campus?