What's Going On at Williams College?

Glenn Ricketts

That’s what New Criterion editor Roger Kimball asks in this commentary at PJ Media. If you haven’t heard about it, he’s referring to an “incident” last month, in which racial epithets had been scrawled on a Williams College dormitory wall. Replicating a pattern that’s become familiar over the last decade or so, the president of Williams all but sent in a S.W.A.T. team in response: he ordered classes and athletic practices cancelled, and organized a “day of reflection” for soul-searchng, healing and speech-making to emphasize how fervently he and the Williams administration detest racism and what they’re doing to stamp it out, etc., etc. That’s not all, either: Kimball writes that a student who found the whole thing farcical and possibly a hoax, vented on his blog and was hauled in for interrogation by campus police and – get this – the FBI. But maybe that’s not surprising, at least if you know anything about the “bias intervention” procedures that are waiting to pounce on so many college campuses these days. Have a look at this one from Rutgers, where the admininstration also stands ready to send in the 101st Airborne.

But the central point of Kimball’s piece is a question: is this for real? Or is it another of the “hate crime” hoaxes which have been perpetrated frequently over the past few years, often by a member of the putative victim group? Kimball provides a list of recent similar cases, indicating why he’s skeptical of the one at Williams.

In any case, neither the Williams police nor the FBI has yet turned up a suspect, and maybe they won’t. But if it does turn out to be a fabrication, I’m not expecting any classes to be cancelled this time.

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