In mid-April, Salisbury University students reported finding a picture of a noose drawn on a whiteboard along with the hashtag "whitepower" and a racial slur. Emails sent out by the university's president pledged to find out who was behind the "act of intolerance."
Stop me if you've heard this one before: it turns out the whole thing was a hoax, and the students who drew the offensive drawing were black. No charges are expected to be filed, but the students (who are not being named) may face penalties at the university.
The university confirmed Tuesday, April 26, the students involved in the incident were black, spokesman Richard Culver wrote in an email. The university would not provide names of the students, citing the federal
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
This information was first reported in the university's student newspaper, The Flyer.
Since the incident, Salisbury University Police Department has completed its investigation, Culver said. In consultation with the Wicomico County
State’s Attorney’s Office, the department has decided to not file criminal charges at this time.
The investigation is being turned over to the university and will be reviewed for any possible university policy violations, Culver said. If charged, those students who were involved could face disciplinary action.
First things first: let's all be glad that there are no racists writing graffiti on whiteboards at Salisbury University's library. This should be celebrated. Secondly, why on earth would someone fake a hate crime and expect to get away with it? College administrators aren't stupid, and one would think they'd dedicate considerable effort to catch the perpetrator of an act that would bring a substantial amount of bad PR to the school. Staging fake hate crimes doesn't make anyone sympathetic to a cause, and instead it just creates more friction. (Although it's probably a positive if hate crimes are so rare on campus that they have to be invented.)
Like I said in my post about another hate crime hoax, incidents like these make it harder for actual victims to be believed--and that's terrible. Nothing positive comes out of faking a crime.