A Vigil for Hate Crimes?

by Stephen Beale on December 2, 2009

Following a spree of hate crimes on campus, the University of Rhode Island decided to hold a 15-minute silent vigil, to which we can only respond: seriously? Here is more from The Providence Journal:

The silent vigil was organized by Christina Knoll, a junior from New Jersey, who said she wanted to give students an opportunity to “speak out” against prejudice of any kind. …“I just wanted to get URI together to tell the perpetrators that we aren’t going to stand for it,” she said. “I want to give students a voice. Hearing this message from students can be very powerful.” …

As the chapel bell tolled, the crowd multiplied and spread across the quad. First, one student, then another, raised their hands and made the peace sign. A few young women had tears in their eyes. Two held hands.

Keep in mind that these hate crimes consisted of offensive messages scrawled on some dorm-room white boards and flag as well as the depiction of the swastika symbol around campus. While we certainly do not in any way condone either the hate or the crime, campus vigils seem better suited to mark the death of a student or some violent crime, not vandalism. It just goes to show to what extremes colleges will go to enforce their creed of diversity and tolerance.

And it doesn’t even stop there. As The Journal reported at the bottom of the story, the university is hastening plans to bring a “conciliation specialist” from the U.S. Department of Justice to campus.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Andrew E. Kurtzman December 4, 2009 at 3:12 pm

To be fair, this was a student-organized event, and not a creation of the URI administration — which only went so far as to send a campus-wide email condemning the vandals. HAD the University organized this, they rightly should be questioned for hyper-sensitivity. The vandalism barely qualifies on the register of significant hate crimes. (Though it certainly was despicable.)

But to your point, this sort of vigil is likely only to encourage the vandals. As they say on the Internets: “don’t feed the trolls.”

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