A woman is no longer enrolled at North Park University in Chicago after school officials determined she had fabricated a story about receiving threatening, slur-riddled notes mentioning President-elect Trump.
"We are confident there is no further threat of repeated intolerance to any member of our campus community stemming from this recent incident," the school's president, David Parkyn, said in a statement.
The ex-student, Taylor Volk, claimed she received messages containing "harassing, threatening language and mentions of President-elect Donald Trump," a local NBC News affiliate, WMAQ-TV, reported.
Some of the notes were emails, and some notes were taped to her door, she said.
Volk uploaded pictures of supposedly threatening messages, some of which contained anti-gay slurs, to her various social media accounts.
But it appears she made up the story in a misguided bid to draw attention to herself and her displeasure with the outcome of the Nov. 8 presidential election. Sadly, she's not alone in protesting Trump's victory by claiming a phony hate crime.
There has been a recent spate of fakes hate crimes supposedly inspired by the election of Trump, Reason has reported.
A Muslim female student at the University of Louisiana, for example, "claimed to have had her hijab ripped off and her wallet stolen the day after Trump's election by two white men wearing Trump hats. But on Thursday, local police announced that the young woman had admitted she fabricated the story," Reason noted.
The Lafayette Police Department said later in a press release, "This incident is no longer under investigation."
Even sadder than this example is the fact that these types kinds of hoaxes aren't even unique to the 2016 election. They are, in fact, part of a more recent and growing trend among political activists.
Journalists were shocked in 2013 when they reported that vandals had supposedly gone to great lengths to pull racist stunts at Oberlin College. The stunts included flying a Nazi flag and putting a "whites only" sign above a drinking fountain. Reporters wasted no time detailing the supposed "hate crimes," and the story generated a good deal of press, but little was done in regard to investigating the persons responsible for the stunts.
A student admitted later that it was all a hoax designed specifically to "get an overreaction."
Earlier, in 2011, a Colorado lesbian couple claimed someone had spray-painted "Kill the Gay" on their garage door. The vandals also reportedly left a noose on the couple's door.
The FBI determined later that the women had spray-painted the message themselves. They were charged with criminal mischief and false reporting.
Also, don't forget that infamous story about Whole Foods. There are many, many examples of such stories. So many, in fact, that there is even a database set up online for the explicit purpose of cataloging all the instances of fake hate crimes.
Just as there are many hoaxes, there are also many reasons for why you shouldn't fake a hate crime.
First, lying is wrong. Secondly, you undermine your own cause by damaging your credibility. Maybe Trump is an existential threat to the republic. But good luck getting anyone to take you seriously after you're caught creating or disseminating a hoax.
Thirdly, when you fake hate crimes, you cause other people to live with unjustified fears. Suddenly, people become paranoid, even assuming that apparently harmless graffiti is some kind of hate-filled message. Finally, if the thing you're protesting is as bad as you say it is, you probably don't need to fake it. It'll happen on its own.
And if it doesn't, isn't that a good thing?