Message Threatens Death for Black Students on Hocking College Campus Feb. 2
Photo: Students enter Hocking Heights residence hall at Hocking College on Jan. 27.
Hocking College, a two-year technical school, confirmed Tuesday that the threat discovered last week was real. The Associated Press reported at least one subsequent note reading "kill the n***ers" was found. Judy Sinnott, a spokeswoman for the school, couldn't confirm what was written in the second note.
At least two black students have withdrawn permanently from the school out of fear for their safety, and another dozen have moved out of the dorm where the threat was found, college officials said. Some students seem unperturbed, but others say the threat has brought simmering racial tensions to the surface.
Hocking's campus covers hundreds of densely treed acres in the Wayne National Forest about 60 miles southeast of Columbus. It is near Nelsonville, an economically depressed rural town plagued with heroin addiction and unemployment. About 400 of the school's 6,300 students are black, many of whom are foreign exchange students from the Caribbean.
The school has installed more security cameras in dorms and beefed up foot patrols. A $5,000 reward is being offered, and extra counselors are on hand. And for those wary of venturing outside until after Feb. 2, teachers are making allowances for missed class work. The college is also providing temporary housing for students who are too scared to stay in Hocking Heights, the dorm where the threats were found.
Students and faculty members at Ohio University in nearby Athens are also on alert. Short of stationing police officers in the woods — which Hocking lacks the manpower to do — officials there say vigilance remains the best defense.
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