Oberlin: Yes, It Was A Hoax

As suggested here last March, the apparent wave of racist graffiti at Oberlin College was yet another campus hoax. So were the anti-Semitic and anti-gay graffiti and the reported sighting of a white-sheeted Klansman on campus. The sightings seemed unlikely at the time, yet they caused a day of class cancellations and fostered much hand-wringing about the persistence of racism and bigotry at one of the nation’s left-most colleges.

The Oberlin Police Department identified Dylan Bleier, a leftist student and former head of a voter registration drive for President Obama, and his partner in the spree, Matt Alden, as two of the principal architects of the Oberlin hoax.

As we wrote back in March the staging of hoaxes can seem irresistible, “Fake rapes and fake attacks on minorities are no longer unusual on campuses. One reason is the post-modern theory that there is no truth, only voices and narratives. If the narrative is all-important, why bother with facts? Why not sell the narrative directly ?” Shortly after the graffiti appeared. Oberlin announced that two unidentified students, no longer on campus, were responsible. But the college released no details, leaving the implication that racists had written the graffiti. The administration should be asked when it knew it was a hoax and why it took so long to tell us the truth.

John Leo

John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

11 thoughts on “Oberlin: Yes, It Was A Hoax

  1. I am nearly certain I will prove the existence of Bigfoot long before I am able to witness an act of introspection on the part of either a leftist individual or organization.

  2. I can’t say why Oberlin wouldn’t release the truth, but I will say that I grew up in the town in the 60s and it was a looney bin even then. I escaped at the first opportunity.

  3. Didn’t you answer your own question?
    The “narrative” is more important than the truth to most of those who work at universities.
    The surprising part is that Oberlin ever admitted the whole thing was a hoax.

  4. It would be useful to now what has happened to Dylan Bleier and Matt Alden. The two perpetrators of this hoax apparently have been dismissed from the College, which is good.
    What now for them? Where did they land? For whom do they work? Did the progressives look after them with jobs in an NGO somewhere?
    Dismissing them from college does not completely hold them to account. I suspect they’ll be doing what they do elsewhere — a little more subtle no doubt.
    Where are they now?

  5. Ok, suppose the Oberlin administration were to be asked those questions.
    What makes us think that they will answer them? And what makes us think that if they did answer truthfully, the answer would make any difference to the people who were taken in by the hoax in the first place?

  6. It became sad when a university was about the last place one could go to have a robust debate on controversial subjects. It’s even worse now that people are actually punished for telling an uncomfortable truth and rewarded for lying so long as it fits the narrative.

  7. Why?!? Because doling it out in little pieces keeps the narrative going longer before the truth comes out while appearing to say the University is on top of things. By then the lamestream media is tired of it and prints the final “hoax” part at the bottom of page 16.

  8. Actions such as these must be labeled frauds, not hoaxes, to convey the malicious intent and to combat the fallacy that it’s all just “the narrative.”

  9. Once again, life imitates art. Several years back there was a winning play called “Spinning Into Butter” which documented this very sort of hoax on a progressive campus because, among other reasons, such a hoax – in small supply actually -nonetheless remains perfectly suited to the desired, if stale, narrative of oppression. The play should be staged at Oberlin:-)))

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