News and Commentary

Remember When Eastern Michigan University Erupted In Protest Over Racist Graffiti? It Was A Hoax.

In September, Eastern Michigan University erupted in protests after racist graffiti — red, white, and blue spray-painted “KKK” and “leave n*****s” — was discovered on school property on three different occasions.

According to university police, the racist incidents appear to have been a hoax, allegedly perpetrated by a 29-year-old black man named Eddie Curlin.

On Monday, Curlin, a former EMU student, was arraigned in Washtenaw County District Court on three counts of malicious destruction of property, four counts of identity theft, and one count of using computers to commit a crime, according to

The first apparently-staged incident was committed at the end of September in the Julia Anne King Hall courtyard. In red, white, and blue colors, “KKK” and “leave n*****s” was spray-painted on a wall.

In October, “leave n*****s” was again found on school property, this time in Ford Hall. The last incident was reportedly found in an EMU men’s restroom.

Protests instantly erupted over the incidents, gaining national attention and building a post-Trump racism-in-America narrative.

“We pay for our education just like everyone else, so to see something like that in the morning on our way to class, it’s caused outrage and pain,” one student named Janee told BuzzFeed at the time of the incident.

The incidents sparked quick condemnation by EMU administration, too.

“The deeper and systemic issues that are behind these incidents continue to be a focus for our student leaders, our faculty, our administration and all who care about this institution and the welfare of our students,” said President James Smith via email in response to the graffiti. “These incidents run counter to the values and mission of the University and our actions over the past several weeks and going forth have and will continue to reflect that.”

As reported by The Daily Caller, “EMU even created a website to track updates regarding the vandalism. Those updates included holding a day-long teach-on on racism, diversity, and inclusion; creating the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion; another day-long teach-in called ‘Know Justice, Know Peace’; promoting a campus-wide unity rally; providing psychological and counseling services to students affected by the vandalism and more.”

The university’s police chief claims Curlin’s crimes were “not driven by politics” but “self-serving” acts.