Student hoax backfires after placing 'White' and 'Colored' signs above university water fountains

An African-American student at Sweet Briar College (SBC), who admitted to posting “White” and “Colored” signs above the water fountains in a campus dorm, is now saying she isn’t racist, but just wanted to “make a point.”

The signs appeared last Thursday morning in Meta Glass Hall, following the college’s presentation of In Sweet Remembrance, a play about segregation and race relations.

Interim President of SBC James F. Jones responded to the incident stating “[we] have among us someone who is essentially bigoted and mean-spirited who would recall the Jim Crow days of separation, mirroring the apartheid of South Africa that summoned the calm voice of reason of Nelson Mandela to decry hatred.”

Overwhelmed with guilt, the student emailed Jones and admitted she was behind the hoax. She said that although her intention was to show that “in moving forward, we can never really shake the past,” she regrettably offended some people.

“While posting these extremely hurtful labels, I had one thing in mind,” the perpetrator wrote. “My mission was to show others that words can still have an extreme impact, and the past still resonates with us all. While moving forward, we can never really shake the past. The past is a part of us and we are a part of the past. While they did not necessarily know this before, we are all equal and nobody deserves to be treated unfairly.

“I was trying to make a point, but the point ended up ‘making me’ … now everyone has ideas on what type of person that I am. I am none of these things,” she wrote. “I am myself, I am caring and kind. I am the last person who would ever intentionally hurt someone else, but most of all, I am sorry!”

The student is no longer at the school, according to The Roanoke Times.

Jones announced the news Wednesday after a campus lockdown that morning. According to the college, the school received a threatening phone call from a man at an off-campus location.

The caller demanded the identity of the student, who he thought thought was white. He demanded justice and said that he was coming to Sweet Briar's campus. Nothing ultimately came of the phone call.

In an email to students Wednesday, Jones revealed that the student was no longer enrolled at the college as a result of the school's investigation. 

"Per federal regulations, the name of the student involved will not be released, but because of the circumstances and the questions it has raised, I can tell you that she is African-American and that I believe her apology was sincere," Jones wrote.

The president said he made the student's race publicly known to dispel "groundless assumptions" in messages the school has received since the original incident.

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