In recent years college enrollment has risen to unparalleled levels. Most students enter college not only for the classroom experience, but also for various external social factors. Stable environments are conducive to education, and typically include elements such as tolerance, acceptance of other cultures. An environment void of such elements often is detrimental to the social, emotional, and educational growth of students.

While returning to their dorm room in the early morning hours of January 19, 1998 two Miami students were assaulted in a defamatory motivated attack. The two students were walking home from uptown when two men, suspected to be following them, jumped from their vehicle and began shouting racist and heterosexist comments at the two students. They than began attacking both students with bats and other unknown weapons. One of the victim's injuries were so severe that he was forced to spend several weeks in the hospital.

On October 30, 1998 (during Parent's Weekend) Miami University's Center For Black Culture and Learning (CBCL) was defaced with numerous representations (posters, screensavers etc.) of racist, heterosexist, and anti-Semitic messages. The posters contained pictures of a lynching, burning crosses, a Confederate flag, anti-gay appurtenances, anti-Semitic paraphernalia and members of the Ku Klux Klan. Accompanying the pictures were statements such as "KKK for life," "No Male Bonding," "Die Nigger" and "Niggers go back to Africa".

The University police did not immediately make the incident public. While a press release was issued the Monday following the incident, a Campus Crime alert was not distributed and no other information was given to students, faculty, staff, and parents. Many individuals speculated that this was done to preserve the University's image during Parent's Weekend.
After learning about the incident and the manner in which the investigation was being handled a group of student representatives attempted to arrange an open forum between Miami's President James Garland and any interested Miami students. President Garland initially refused to meet with the students as a group, which prompted a protest march on November 10, 1998. More than two hundred students organized a demonstration at two nearby intersections on campus, U.S. Rte. 73 at U.S. 27 and Spring Street at U.S. 27, to voice concerns about problems at Miami University. The student demonstration blocked traffic for approximately one hour. Oxford and Miami police were on the scene and restored traffic on U.S. 27 while Spring Street remained closed for about two hours.

On November 11, 1998, after a disheartening meeting between Nathaniel Snow and President Garland a group of roughly thirty students began protesting once again on Spring Street. After roughly ten minutes deputies from the Butler County Sheriff's Department began arresting the students. In all, seven students were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The protests that occurred on November 10th and 11th were sparked by the incident that occurred at the Center for Black Culture and Learning. The rallies were motivated by numerous incidents of hate based on racial, homophobic, anti-Semitic, and gender-biased ignorance and attacks on numerous students, followed by the university's inadequate handling of these incidents.

On Thursday, January 21, two African American Miami University students turned themselves into Miami University police after warrants had been issued for their arrests in connection with the posting of the fliers in the CBCL. They were both charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespassing. Both students publicly denied any and all accusations about their involvement in the incident.

On December 2, 1998, a female student from McBride Hall reported to University Police that she had received 500 threatening e-mail messages of an anti-Semitic nature in her personal account. The messages contained little text, but were titled with anti-Semitic slurs and threatening remarks. The messages were sent from an anonymous source between 4:30 and 6:10 p.m. on December 2.

On December 2, 1998, a male employee of Marcum Conference Center discovered a racially threatening statements written in marker on the driver's window of his car, which was parked in the lot. He washed off the messages upon discovering them, and reported the matter to University Police on December 3. Although the statement was directed against African-Americans, the employee is white.

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By: Jerry M. Greene, Claudia Peschiera, Jessica E. Shuleva, Elizabeth Stricklen

This project was produced for Psy 324, Living in a Social World, Spring 1999, at Miami University. All images in these pages are used by permission or were produced by the authors. Social Psychology / Miami University (Ohio USA). Last revised: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 23:42:59 .   This document has been accessed 1 times since 1 May 1999. Comments & Questions to R. Sherman