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Racial episodes shake Ohio's Oberlin College

Published: Tue, March 5, 2013 @ 4:23 p.m.

OBERLIN, Ohio (AP) — Scrawls of racially offensive graffiti and, more recently, a report of someone wearing what looked like a Ku Klux Klan-type hooded robe on campus have shaken students at historically liberal Oberlin College, one of the nation's first universities to admit blacks.

A day after the school canceled classes and students marched on campus, many remained worried about their safety.

"I just really feel uncomfortable walking alone anywhere," Modjeska Pleasant, 19, a first-year student from Savannah, Ga., said today.

She said she became upset after hearing a few white students suggest that the racist graffiti first found a month ago and anti-Semitic and racist fliers and other messages left around campus since then were just a prank to get out of classes.

The college canceled Monday's classes after the early morning sighting of the hooded robe. Classes resumed today.

President Marvin Krislov and three college deans told the campus community in an open letter they hope the ordeal will lead to a stronger Oberlin. Students and professors gathered Monday afternoon to talk about mutual respect.

Hate-filled graffiti and racially charged displays are hardly unusual on college campuses. But what makes this string of incidents so shocking is that it happened at a place tied so closely with educating and empowering blacks in America.

Oberlin began admitting blacks nearly 180 years ago.

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