St. Olaf College’s president told the campus today that a fellow student confessed to writing a note with racist and threatening content and admitted that it was “fabricated” as an apparent “strategy to draw attention to concerns about the campus climate.” The revelation came in the second of two e-mails sent Wednesday to students by President David R. Anderson, who said in his first communication that the college “confirmed that this was not a genuine threat. We’re confident that there is no ongoing threat from this incident to individuals or the community as a whole.” According to the Star Tribune, Anderson’s
second e-mail implicated a student as the person responsible, pointing out that “federal privacy laws prohibit the college from disclosing the identity of the author of that note and disclosing the actions taken by the college now that we know the author’s identity.” Samantha Wells, in a tweet early this afternoon, addressed the president’s disclosure. But it was unclear from the tweet whether she acknowledges or denies being the note’s author. “So, it looks like something made its way back to me in the investigation,” she said in the first tweet. “I will be saying it was a hoax. I don’t care. There is nothing more that I can do.” However, because of “many requests for more information,” Anderson said, he revealed the lack of racist intent behind the note, which black student Samantha Wells said was left on her windshield on April 29. Wells said she would be graduating soon, leaving for Europe in June and “would rather not spend the end of my college career and my last month and a half in the U.S. worrying about an investigation.” With Wells’ bowing out, police have closed the case and released their file on it. The file pointed out that police did not see the note because Wells “took [it] outside and had a ‘ceremonial’ burning to destroy it.” Wells said she destroyed the note “because she didn’t want to look at it or have it anywhere near her,” the police file read. There is still an investigation as to the other notes.
KYMN news has obtained a copy of the email from President Anderson to the students of St. Olaf. It reads:
I am getting many requests for more information and follow-up to my message this morning. Considering the extraordinary impact that particular note on April 29th had on our campus, I sympathize with the desire for more information. I would love to provide it.