College campuses across the country are experiencing an alarming trend of falsely reported hate crimes, resulting in arrests and fines for accusers and monetary settlements for victims who are falsely accused.
Hate Crime Hoaxes
Investigations are putting a nationwide trend of hate crime hoaxes on college campuses in the news. From New York to California, police reports show that people are being falsely accused of serious hate crimes they did not commit. False hate crime reports are targeting people of all ages, genders, and nationalities with accusations that range from racial slurs, verbal and physical attacks, sexual assaults, and rape.
In the last few years, there have been a rising number of hate crime hoaxes around the country:
- Near Kansas State University, a man reported that his car was vandalized with racist graffiti. After an FBI investigation was launched to find the perpetrator, the Kansas man admitted he was responsible for writing the racial slurs on his own vehicle.
- At the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs, five black cadets reported finding racial slurs on whiteboards outside their rooms. A school investigation uncovered that the cadet who reported the hateful racist slurs was responsible for writing them.
- At St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, a note that threatened a black female student and used the N-word led to a campus protest that shut down classes for an entire day. An investigation later showed that the threatened female student wrote the note herself to draw attention to campus issues.
- At the University of Michigan, a female student lied about an attack that resulted in $660 in fines and a 93-day suspended jail sentence. According to the Ann Arbor Police Department report, the student pleaded guilty to the hate crime hoax and admitted to having mental health issues.
According to experts, hate crimes are often falsely reported to attract attention to a political statement or divert the attention of misconduct by an individual who has perpetrated a crime. Some perpetrators seek publicity for self-recognition or sympathy. College campuses create the perfect environment for all of these motives, because of ongoing issues with discrimination, homophobia, and sexual misconduct on campus. In 2015, there were 5,850 hate crimes reported to the FBI. However, a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics states that over half of the 250,000 hate crimes that took place in the U.S. were not reported to law enforcement for various reasons.