Ohio College Cancels Classes After Racist Incidents Against African Americans


A northeast Ohio college canceled classes after a report that a person wearing a hooded robe resembling Ku Klux Klan gear was seen near an African heritage building.

Oberlin College canceled Monday’s classes after the early morning sighting. The college calls the sighting the latest in a series of hate-related incidents on campus. Repeated incidents of racist graffiti were reported on campus last month.

Oberlin, which prides itself as a stop on the Underground Railroad that helped fugitive slaves, invited students and professors to attend afternoon events focused on mutual respect.

Oberlin president Marvin Krislov and three college deans told the campus community in an open letter that they hope the ordeal will lead to a stronger Oberlin.

“Early this morning, there was a report of a person wearing a hood and robe resembling a KKK outfit between South and the Edmonia Lewis Center and in the vicinity of African Heritage House,” Oberlin President Marvin Krislov wrote in an email to the school’s 2,800 students, faculty and staff. “This event, in addition to the series of other hate-related incidents on campus, has precipitated our decision to suspend formal classes and all non-essential activities for today, Monday, March 4, 2013, and gather for a series of discussions of the challenging issues that have faced our community in recent weeks.”

The college, founded in 1833, is about 30 miles southwest of Cleveland and has been noted to be the “first in America to educate women alongside men” and the “first to admit black students.” The New York Times notes that “before the Civil War, it was an abolitionist hotbed and an important stop on the underground railroad.”