Last month, students found backwards swastikas and racist graffiti scrawled in bathroom stalls at Goucher College, near Baltimore. A list of names or dorm numbers for black students was also found.
Goucher president Jose Bowen and other campus officials wrote a letter to students Thursday, November 29, about the incident. The administrators wrote that the tags were made with permanent marker and included “hateful, threatening, and racist graffiti, which was specifically anti-Black and anti-Latinx.”
These writings, the officials wrote, were similar to a November 14 incident, which also included “a backwards swastika.”
“Once again, we strongly condemn this abhorrent hate crime that occurred in our community, and call on all community members to remain supportive and understanding of one another during this challenging time. We are thankful to all of those who dedicated their time and efforts to investigating and resolving this matter,” the letter said.
Police investigated the writing, and Goucher reached out to the students who were included in the list. The day after the letter was published, on November 30, Baltimore County police arrested a suspect: None other than Fynn Arthur, one of the African-American students named in the list. He has been charged with “two counts of malicious destruction of property,” according to the Baltimore Fishbowl. He has since been released on his own recognizance.
Police say Arthur was also behind the November 14 incident. At that time, Arthur was not a suspect, since his name was included in the list. But after the second writings were discovered, police said they found evidence that pointed to Arthur, but it is not yet known what that evidence was.
“Police spokeswoman Det. Jennifer Peach said in an email that they suspect Arthur included his own name and room number in the graffiti ‘in an attempt to mislead investigators by posing as a victim… This is not an unheard of tactic.’ She added, ‘During the initial investigation there was no indication that he was a potential suspect,’” the Fishbowl reported.
Arthur appears to have been removed from campus, as administrators sent out an announcement saying an unnamed student was no longer on campus “pending adjudication through the College’s student conduct processes,” the Fishbowl also reported.
This hate-crime hoax comes at the same time as another at Drake University. A female student said she had found four racist notes in the residence halls, and at least one was addressed to her. It turned out that the student sent the notes herself, and faces harassment charges and school discipline.
Though media and colleges like to insist that hate crimes are on the rise, not one incident on a college campus has turned out to be genuine in recent years. The initial story of the hateful graffiti, or notes, or nooses spreads across the media before ultimately being discovered to have been written by the very people claiming to be targeted.
As I’ve written previously, those who commit these hoaxes should be prosecuted, as their crimes are meant to gin up anger toward specific segments of the population. The current policies, which give students a slap on the wrist — if that — because they “started a dialogue” are doing nothing to dissuade future hoaxers.