Reports of bias incidents at Vassar College that involved hateful messages left on students’ doors were actually elaborate hoaxes — and the perpetrator is none other than the student member of the Bias Incident Response Team, The Daily Caller has learned.
This fall semester at the liberal arts college in New York saw a curiously high number of bias incident reports. On Nov. 14, the college sent a mass email to students advising them that Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) had received at least six reports in the last few months of hateful and insensitive messages being scrawled and spray painted on student residences. Messages included “Avoid Being Bitches,” “Fuck Niggers,” and most prominently, “Hey Tranny. Know Your Place.”
“This is unacceptable and members of our community should be able to learn and work in environments that are free of hurtful expressions and behaviors,” wrote Edward Pittman, BIRT coordinator and dean of the College for Campus Life and Diversity, in an email to students.
The email also outlined BIRT’s purpose and role in bias incident response. The task force receives the reports of bias incidents, meets with victims, and provides support for campus efforts to foster diversity and inclusion.
The task force had one student member: Genesis Hernandez, who is transgendered and was also a vice president of the Vassar Student Association (VSA), the student government.
Five days after the email was sent, Vassar President Catharine Hill sent a follow-up email announcing that the bias incidents were hoaxes perpetrated by two students. The students wrote the vile messages and then filed the reports themselves, claiming to be the victims of unknown haters.
“It is our unfortunate duty to report that two Vassar students have admitted responsibility for creating a number of recent bias and hate-speech messages in public spaces on campus,” wrote Hill in an email. “They also falsely reported these as anonymous messages. Sadly, our community has been deeply hurt by these actions.”
The email noted that the two students had admitted responsibility and withdrawn from the college voluntarily. Their names were not reported.
However, The DC has learned that one of the perpetrators was none other than Genesis Hernandez.
Informed sources within Vassar told The DC that administrators pinpointed Hernandez as a responsible party, forcing him to give up his position in student government and leave the college. Leaked conversations between student government members also paint Hernandez as the culprit.
On the same day that Hill’s email went out, VSA President Deborah Steinberg sent an email of her own announcing an election to fill Hernandez’s now-vacant VP position.
Hernandez has withdrawn from the college. His vassar.edu address no longer works, and as such, he did not respond to a request for comment.
A representative for the college declined to comment. Vassar’s only statement on the matter remains Hill’s email, in which she acknowledged that the campus might now be skeptical of BIRT’s efforts, but stressed the need to continue them.
“The outcome of this most recent investigation in no way diminishes our commitment to working toward a more just, diverse, egalitarian and inclusive campus community,” she wrote.
The DC could not determine the other perpetrator’s identity, nor was it clear which student wrote and falsely reported which messages.