St. Olaf: Racist note was a “hoax”

On April 29, 2017, a racist note saying, “I am so glad you are leaving soon. One less [N-word] this school has to deal with. You have spoken up too much. You will change nothing. Shut up or I will shut you up,” was found on Samantha Well’s car, a black student at St. Olaf college in Northfield, MN.  

The tight knit community, at the small private liberal arts college, initiated a campus wide rally that was streamed live via Facebook that day. The stream featured a variety of visibly shook-up, and very distraught students. The rally turned into a sit in, and classes were cancelled for the following two days, as most of the St. Olaf students spent the day supporting their peers who had been affected by the incident.

Student organizers demanded extensive campus changes regarding the way the


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administration responds to, and investigates incidents like this one. Precious Ismail, a spokeswoman for the campus group, the Coalition for Change on the Hill, told the Star Tribune, “Our movement wasn’t about one individual, our movement was about a pattern of institutional racism.”

On Wednesday, May 10, it was announced by the President of St. Olaf, David R Anderson, that the note was a “hoax,” and that a St. Olaf student was responsible for authoring the note. Anderson added, “federal privacy laws prohibit the college from disclosing the identity of the author of that note and disclosing the actions taken by the college now that we know the author’s identity.” In a message to the students, Anderson wrote that the note was “fabricated” and was a “strategy to draw attention to concerns about the campus climate.”

The Northfield police told the Star Tribune that the case has been closed as of Wednesday due to the fact that Wells decided not to file a report, as she is leaving soon and would rather spend her last few weeks at college enjoying herself, than to be preoccupied with a case.

Anderson told the Star Tribune that the campus will continue to investigate similar reported incidents.


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