NORTHFIELD, Minn. – A racist note left on a student’s car that resulted in days of protests has been revealed to be fake after some investigation.
St. Olaf President David Anderson revealed in a message to students that a student had confessed to writing the note, reports the Star Tribune. The threat was typed out, and it’s author remains anonymous. According to Anderson, “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.”
“This was not a genuine threat,” Anderson wrote Wednesday. “We’re confident that there is no ongoing threat from this incident to individuals or the community as a whole.”
African American student Samantha Wells found the note on her car on April 29.
“I am so glad that you are leaving soon. One less n‑‑‑‑‑ that this school has to deal with. You have spoken up too much. You will change nothing. Shut up or I will shut you up,” read the note.
Northfield police are no longer investigating the incident, as Wells has declined to seek the filing of a criminal case, reports the Star Tribune. The case file for the incident records that police were unable to examine the note because Wells “took [it] outside and had a ‘ceremonial’ burning to destroy it.”
Wells ostensibly destroyed the note “because she didn’t want to look at it or have it anywhere near her,” according to the file, reports the Star Tribune.
Northfield Police Chief Monte Nelson told the Star Tribune that the department had received no prior notice of the fabrication of the note. As far as Nelson knows, there is no law under which the police can charge someone for fabricating the note.
“So, it looks like something made its way back to me in the investigation,” Wells wrote on social media according to the Star Tribune. “I will be saying it was a hoax. I don’t care. There is nothing more that I can do.”
Protesters vowed to continue fighting against what they see as institutional racism at St. Olaf, regardless of the note’s authenticity.
“Our movement wasn’t about one individual,” Precious Ismail, a spokeswoman Coalition for Change on the Hill, the group that led the protest, told the Star Tribune. “Our movement was about a pattern of institutional racism.”