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Students at Iowa State University got a failing grade for igniting a racial firestorm before properly doing their homework.
A truck on campus sporting the words “White Power” set students off on a series of false conclusions on Monday, The College Fix reported.
As a photo of the truck spread through social media, so did the racial allegations that were eventually proved groundless. The truck, and its owner, were simply victims of vandalism.
“Racism is still rampant in this community and in our country,” spouted one student’s Facebook post featuring a picture of the truck.
Student leader Nick Thuot-Petkovich noticed the Ford truck on campus and took the opportunity to sound off the alarm bell, tagging the university in the post on his Facebook page that teemed with criticism of white privilege. He also called campus police to investigate, The Fix reported.
The post was shared on Twitter by Latinos Unidos for Change, a Latino activist group on campus, calling out the alleged racism and ignorance at the school.
— LUCHA (@whatsgoodisu) April 11, 2016
The backlash spread all the way to university president Steven Leath who was blasted for not responding swiftly.
— MaBe (@MaBeCraze) April 12, 2016
Some hold-outs for common sense urged fellow students to exercise caution in rushing to judgement. Student Tyler Stapler called off the “lynch mob” and criticized the circulation of the photo. Another student, Evan Slabaugh, responded to the Facebook post:
“I understand the intensity this situation instilled in a lot of the student body, but the nature of the writing here seems a bit … hasty. I can’t help but wonder if this is a case involving “planted” evidence. Maybe an activist of some sort just wanted to put fuel on the fire? I feel like if somebody REALLY wanted to put “white power” on their tailgate that they would do so in a much more tasteful font/medium. Or a more likely situation: some drunk college kids wrote this on their friends truck during a party as a practical joke (a tasteless one at that) and s/he drove the truck to campus, none the wiser.”
Thuot-Petkovich did not take the criticism well.
“Suggesting that this situation was orchestrated in any way is a really good example of the mental backflips we white people do to try and justify racism instead of just acknowledging that this shit is everywhere and asking how we can work toward ending it,” he responded.
Ironically, the owner of the truck, Derek Jensen, only learned about the uproar when a friend tagged him in the post on Facebook.
“It’s just irritating when people are messing with stuff they shouldn’t be messing with,” he told The Fix.
Jensen filed a police report with hopes that the culprit could be found and charged with vandalism. In an anti-climactic end to the student brouhaha, Jensen was cleared by police in a separate tweet.
@LWesleyHarrisJr @MaBeCraze @IASTATE_Pres This criminal mischief case is under investigation. The truck owner is not a suspect.
— IowaStateU Police (@ISUPD) April 12, 2016
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h/t: The Blaze
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