BELOIT, Wis. – A Beloit College student faces criminal charges after police contend he spray-painted his own dorm room door and a nearby wall with anti-Muslim graffiti, the latest in a long line of hate crime hoaxes on college campuses in recent months.
Beloit Police arrested Michael Kee, 20, last Wednesday after investigating his claims that someone spray-painted a swastika and anti-Muslim racial slurs on his dorm door and nearby wall Jan. 30, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
The incident followed another alleged hate crime reported the same day that involved an anti-Semitic note slid under a Jewish student’s door.
The Round Table, a Beloit College student publication, reports the anti-Muslim graffiti featured the messages “Die,” “Sand ni**er go home,” and “#MuslimBan” on Kee’s door on the second floor of Bushnell Hall, as well as a swastika on the wall across the hall.
“Kee is a Beloit College student who reported that the wall next to and his dorm door had been spray painted with a bias symbol and phrases related to his religion and ethnicity,” Beloit Police posted to Facebook on Wednesday. “Kee was interviewed and confessed that he had done the spray painting. Kee observed how the Beloit College community had come together after the first reported incident and wanted similar attention.”
Detectives, who are investigating a total of three recent alleged hate crimes on campus, arrested Kee for obstructing, disorderly conduct, and criminal damage and forwarded his case to the Rock County District Attorney, Madison.com reports.
“The Beloit Police Department considers hate crimes or similar criminal behavior to be very serious and take full measure of our duty to fully and completely investigate all incidents,” Beloit Police wrote. “The false report by Kee may only serve to delegitimize other victims of these types of egregious offenses. However, we believe it is important for our community to know that Kee’s incident does not diminish our resolve going forward with these reported incidents and any other reported crimes of this nature.”
The recent “hate crime” triggered Beloit College President Scott Bierman to call on faculty to preach tolerance and craft lessons around the allegedly biased incidents. College officials also called emergency floor meetings, restricted access to dorms to residents only, blocked off pathways between buildings, and increased security, according to the Round Table.
Kee’s alleged stunt followed two alleged hate crimes targeted at the same student in Peet Hall days earlier. The first, on Jan. 25, involved a swastika drawn on a white board that hung from a Jewish student’s dorm door. The second, on Jan. 30, came in the form of a note slid under the same student’s dorm door that read: “Kike, You should be gassed for what you say & do on this campus. Be worried CUNT.”
The second incident targeting the Jewish student came on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“Our campus cannot operate with ‘business as usual’ at this moment. I ask that all classes today and tomorrow take these acts on directly. I ask that staff and faculty use their time together with students to remind them how important and valued they are and how important it is to lean on one other,” Bierman wrote to students.
“Remind each other of the importance of speaking up when you see or hear something that could be linked to a hate or bias incident. Help each other understand the forces of racism, misogyny, xenophobia and how they can be countered. Listen to each other and draw from others their wisdom, generosity, and different ways of coming to understand the world around us.”
The alleged hate crimes at Beloit College follow a surge of similar activities at college campuses and other locations across the country, many of which have turned out to be hoax crimes perpetuated by the folks who were allegedly targeted.
In late November, Philadelphia police arrested 58-year-old black man William Tucker for vandalizing numerous vehicles and homes with racist graffiti in an attempt to smear President Donald Trump and his supporters.
Tucker allegedly spray-painted “Trump Rules” and “Black B**ch” on a black woman’s car, as well as pro-Trump Nazi messages on a storefront in what mainstream media outlets quickly labeled a racist hate crime, Breitbart reports.
Tucker was ultimately charged with four counts of criminal mischief over the incident.
The Associated Press highlighted a similar stunt in Leland, Mississippi, where Andrew McClinton, a 45-year-old black man, allegedly spray painted “Vote Trump” on the wall outside Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church before setting the building on fire about a week before the 2016 election.
Also in November, a Latino student at Elon University was busted for scrawling “Bye Bye Latinos, Hasta La Vista” on a school whiteboard. School officials initially condemned the “reprehensible” incident, but later labeled it “satirical commentary” when they realized a Latino student penned the message, The College Fix reports.
Numerous other reports of alleged hate crimes and racist graffiti involving students at Northwestern University, Baruch College, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Michigan, San Diego State University, the University of New Mexico and others later turned out to be hoaxes aimed at invoking a backlash against Trump supporters. In several of the cases, Muslim students reported physical attacks by Trump supporters that were later revealed to be lies.