Psychologist Weighs In On St. Olaf Racist Note Hoax

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The St. Olaf College campus is still reeling from a reported racist note that turned out to be a hoax.

An African-American female student reported finding a note on her car that was threatening and used a racial slur in late April.

The note sparked protests on campus and a call to action from students to the school’s president.

st olaf college Psychologist Weighs In On St. Olaf Racist Note Hoax

(credit: CBS)

On Wednesday, the school’s president said a student, whom he cannot identify because of privacy laws, admitted to writing the note to “bring attention to the campus climate.”

The note was the seventh of its kind to be reported on the Northfield campus.

The school reports other notes are still being investigated.

Psychologist Dr. Cheryl Bemel of Allina Health says she hopes the school community will continue to focus on moving forward in a spirit of unity.

“Any type of false accusation is a lightning rod,” Bemel said. “We can’t forget that there are very likely some pretty deep emotional wounds that would lead to this kind of a behavior.”

racist message st olaf2 edited 1 Psychologist Weighs In On St. Olaf Racist Note Hoax

The seventh and most recent note (credit: CBS)

While Bemel does not know the student who fabricated the note, she says hoaxes happen for a variety of reasons depending on the individual.

“It’s very difficult to feel isolated and unheard and not as visible,” Bemel said.

What is certain, Bemel says, is an opportunity for growth moving forward as a campus.

“It can lead to more discord or it can lead to some healing,” Bemel said. “It depends on how the institution and the community deal with the issue.”

St. Olaf President David Anderson has said he is committed to continuing conversations about race and campus climate.

[graphiq id=”1FbaVDV9khf” title=”St. Olaf College” width=”600″ height=”750″ url=”https://sw.graphiq.com/w/1FbaVDV9khf” frozen=”true”]

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