Oberlin College canceled classes to convene a “day of solidarity” following a series of racial and anti-Semitic incidents.
Classes at the school in northern Ohio were suspended on Monday after someone wearing a Ku Klux Klan-like hood and robe was seen walking on campus, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
“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,” read a statement on the college’s website signed by the president of the college, Marvin Krislov, who is Jewish, as well as the deans of the individual schools.
The statement asked all students, faculty and staff to participate in the day’s events.
Swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti were discovered on the campus at the beginning and end of last month, according to reports. Racist and homophobic graffiti also was discovered in early February.
“It’s really strange and sad in such a lovely environment that someone would come in and do something so inflammatory in order to make Jews and other people feel uncomfortable,” Rabbi Shimon Brand, director of the Oberlin College Hillel, told the Cleveland Jewish News.
The Anti-Defamation league commended Oberlin for its decison. “The campus community is meant to be a place of understanding and learning, not of intolerance and racism,” said Nina Sundell, ADL’s Cleveland Regional Director. “We praise the administration and faculty of Oberlin College for addressing these incidents head on, and for their decision to immediately cancel classes and convene a campus wide community event. Their actions made clear that Oberlin College is no place for hate and are a model for other campus communities when they are faced with racism and anti-Semitism.”
Guides to colleges routinely list Oberlin as among the most liberal, activist and gay-friendly schools in the country, according to The New York Times.