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Oberlin President On Hate Speech: 'We Will Not Elevate Their Voice'

Bill Badzo

A string of controversial flyers and graffiti have appeared on Ohio college and university campuses in recent months, but Oberlin College says it will no longer share details of those incidents on a campus-wide scale.

Carmen Twillie Ambar, president of the private liberal arts school, said the school has chosen to shift its response to the incidents.

Oberlin will not notify students when flyers, posters and graffiti that include what could be consider hate speech appear on campus, unless it becomes a larger trend or there is an immediate safety concern.

“What these people want to do is, particularly for Oberlin, use our national reputation to elevate their voice," Ambar said. "And so if you send out the information to the entire campus and you recount what the flyer says, they get what they want, which is a voice for their racists speech.”

Ambar is the school's first African-American President. She took office in September, after anti-Semitic flyers were posted on campus earlier this year.

Ambar said investigations of hateful speech on campus will continue as usual, and if flyers are perceived as a to a threat to the college, students will be alerted.

Ashton Marra covers the Capitol for West Virginia Public Radio and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, the station’s daily radio news program. Ashton can also be heard Sunday evenings as she brings you state headlines during NPR’s weekend edition of All Things Considered. She joined the news team in October of 2012.