Racist note that prompted college shut down is hate-crime hoax

A note that used the n-word and threatened a black female student at St. Olaf College — sparking an intense protest that led to classes being shut down for a day as student demonstrators accused the school of institutional racism — “was not a genuine threat,” the school’s president said Wednesday.

President David Anderson said in an email to students that an investigation into the note identified a person of interest “who confessed to writing the note.”

“We’ve confirmed that this was not a genuine threat. We’re confident that there is no ongoing threat from this incident to individuals or the community as a whole,” he said.

In a second campuswide email sent later Wednesday, Anderson used stronger words to explain what happened: “The reason I said in my earlier note that this was not a genuine threat is that we learned from the author’s confession that the note was fabricated. It was apparently a strategy to draw attention to concerns about the campus climate.”

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