A Drake University student is facing charges and possible expulsion after it was discovered she sent racist notes to herself and others, in what turned out to be an elaborate hate crime hoax.
The student, identified as Kissie Ram by the Des Moines police, has been charged with making false police reports regarding the racist notes found by students on campus in November, according to the Des Moines Register.
Student Keith Walker found the first racist note on November 7, which had been slid under his dorm-room door, demanding that the student leave the school due to the color of his skin.
In the following weeks, four additional racist notes had surfaced around campus, accelerating a widespread concern among students and staff across the university. On November 12, the university announced that white supremacist robocalls had been made throughout the campus community.
“We still have a lot of work to do to create the welcoming and supportive community” stated the university president, Marty Martin, in a memo, “The forces of hate are mobilized, but they don’t control us or what happens on our campus.”
The following day, thousands of concerned Drake University students, staff, and alumni rallied against racism on campus.
More than 3,500 Drake University students, faculty, staff, alumni, and neighbors joined together today on Helmick Commons in a show of unity against recent racist incidents on campus. The rally was organized by Student Equity Action Partners to support students of color. pic.twitter.com/BVX7SE61up
— Drake University (@DrakeUniversity) November 14, 2018
— Marty Martin (@drakepresident) November 14, 2018
One day after the rally, more racist notes were discovered on campus.
“Two more racist notes have been slipped under students’ doors,” announced the university, “The person behind these acts continues to show us the corruptness of his or her soul. The individual’s goal is to sow fear and anguish, and to then sit back and watch us flight among ourselves over what he or she has done.”
On November 16, the university held a “Paint it Black” event on campus, in response to the white supremacist robocalls made earlier that week.
The purpose of the event was to “demonstrate shared commitment to Drake University’s students of color,” according to the event description on Facebook.
“The campus community will join together to paint the Painted Street black, a powerful statement of solidarity and anti-racism.”
Student organizations then took to their own painted sections of the street with black paint. Faculty and staff made symbolic brushes to mark their support, as well. pic.twitter.com/Zbm2p7szTT
— Drake University (@DrakeUniversity) November 16, 2018
“This historic action is to demonstrate a shared commitment to Drake University’s students of color in a powerful statement of solidarity. Together, campus united to fight racism and say, ‘You will not win,’” tweeted the university.
Then, on November 30, the university announced that a student, later announced as Kissie Ram, had been identified and confirmed to be the sender of the racist notes, one of which was sent to herself.
The university added that the additional notes were likely “copycat hoaxes” of the first racist note that was found on November 7, and that an investigation into who sent the first note was still being conducted.
President Marty Martin sent the following message to the campus community at noon today. pic.twitter.com/ZjqttDYnEs
— Drake University (@DrakeUniversity) November 30, 2018
It has not yet been confirmed as to who made the November 12 robocalls, although the university does not believe the calls came from within the campus community.
Ram, the student who admitted to sending four out of the five racist notes, could face a fine and be jailed for up to one year if found guilty, as reported by The Des Moines Register.
Drake University student body president, Jose Garcia-Fuerte added that concerns for safety should not be dismissed, despite most of the notes having been discovered were hoaxes.