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Thursday, November 8, 2012

More Hate on Campus after Election

Greetings readers and concerned individuals,

This article is taking some work, just because I want to get everything as straight as possible before I publish anything, but I appreciate that my blog already had a ton of hits today, without me even posting anything. I appreciate that people look here for information about incidents on campus, and can only apologize that I'm slow to respond on occasion.

That being said, I'm sure we're all aware by now of what happened on the night of Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 (Election Day). If you haven't, then in a nutshell: after it was announced the Barack Obama won the reelection for POTUS, a group of students, in a state of jilted unrest were found shouting racially charged hate at members of the Minority Student Union house. This gathering, which happened around Fraternity Circle has caused enough trouble to land HSC on the radar for several new sources. I've included a couple of them here, which give the details as they are known by more established reporters than myself:



Additionally, here is the college's official statement, posted on the Hampden-Sydney College facebook page:

Shortly after 11 PM on November 6, a group of about 40 students gathered near the Minority Student Union (MSU) house. Members of the group set off fireworks and threw bottles in response to the presidential election results. At some point, members of the group shouted racial epithets at the men at MSU threatening them with physical harm. The members of MSU notified campus security. The incident lasted less than 45 minutes, and the group was largely dispersed through the efforts of responsible students, especially fraternity officers. President Chris Howard and Dean of Students David Klein went to Fraternity Circle and spent approximately one hour meeting with students to determine what happened.

We are terribly disappointed with the students who participated in this harmful, senseless episode including those men who stood idly by and watched it happen. There is no place for bigotry or racism at Hampden-Sydney. In response to this incident, President Howard called a Town Hall meeting on the evening on November 7. Nearly 300 members of the Hampden-Sydney community gathered to address the incident and its implications for our community. We were all moved by the responses of our students, their condemnation of the incident, and their heartfelt appeals to brotherhood.

The incident on November 6 is under investigation and will be adjudicated by the Student Justice system.

Now, if you recall, this is not the first racially charged incident that has happened this year. In September I sat down with a friend who found a hate message written on the walls of a bathroom. Needless to say, I am bothered that this type of crap keeps happening at my school. What worries me more is that, even though this stuff keeps happening, I've rarely seen anything done to prevent this sort of event happening again.

This time is different, however. Since the story has made national news (even now I'm hearing reports that CNN is visiting campus tonight), HSC is doing something about it. Now, I don't want to sound terribly cynical. Normally, I would attribute the school's drive to action to the desperate attempt to keep negative publicity away from the public eye. I still believe that public relations is a cause of the action, but it is definitely not the greatest factor. No, this time it is because people are genuinely pissed off.

I wasn't there. I was safe in my room watching Supernatural, celebrating with a beer after the election of the man I voted for. I didn't even know anything had happened until I woke up the next morning to hear that one of my friends was so afraid for his life that he actually left campus the night before. I heard that  friend had been shot at with a firework and that racial hate was being directed at people that I consider brothers. It's enough to say that I was pretty pissed off. This whole mess was so crazy that my dad was ready to call the school to pitch a fit (this surprised me of course. It also surprised me that he was also relatively pissed off that the school would address racial prejudice but never really does anything about gay hate...but that's another story altogether).

I'm not the only one in outrage, though. And that brings us to the real point of this article. You can get the story about what happened from any of the news stories that are flying around, but what of actual student reaction? What I decided to do was ask a couple students what they experienced first hand that night. I've collected these experiences, along with other parts of the chronicle of this event, and I am including them here for people to read. It is important for voices to be heard, and I thank these guy for helping me out. I would also like to shout out to several alumni that I know are angry about what happened, and have said so publicly. I'm glad that they still care enough about the school that they want their voices heard.

By the way, if you are reading this, and would like to lend your experience to the article, PLEASE SEND IT TO ME! I would love to hear from more voices. send me your reaction to

This first bit is the email that was sent to the student body from Dr. Chris Howard, president of Hampden-Sydney College.
Members of the Hampden-Sydney Community,

At approximately eleven minutes after midnight, the Dean of Students, other members of the College faculty and staff, and I received an email from students at the Minority Student Union (MSU) stating a large group had gathered outside their house (formerly Lambda Chi House).  The members of  group set off fireworks and threw bottles evidently in response to the presidential election results.  At some point, members of the group shouted racial epithets at the men in MSU threatening them with physical violence.  The members of MSU notified campus security.  After speaking with Chief Gee on the phone, I walked to Fraternity Circle with Dean Klein and spent approximately one hour meeting with students from MSU, Sigma Nu and Sigma Chi to determine what happened.

I am terribly disappointed with the students who participated in this harmful, senseless episode including those men who stood idly by and watched it happen.  There is no place for bigotry or racism of any kind on this campus.  Dean Klein and I will be meeting with the leaders of various fraternities and MSU today to learn more about the events of last night.  We will also work with leaders of student government, the Interfraternity Council and the Intercultural Affairs Committee to determine the appropriate course of action and to devise ways to ensure our students respect each other despite their racial differences.

I encourage every student, faculty and staff member to take time today to discuss this incident and what it means to Hampden-Sydney.  Our mission is to  produce “Good Men and Good Citizens”;  there is little doubt that some of us failed last night.

I ask those who were involved in or witnessed this incident to consider your responsibility as a Hampden-Sydney Man and contact either Alex Cartwright ( or Dean Klein (

This email was followed up with this one:

Ladies & Gentlemen –  In light of the events that transpired on our campus last night, I ask that students, faculty and staff gather tonight at 7:00pm in Snyder Hall to discuss ensuring that Hampden-Sydney College is a RESPECTFUL and INCLUSIVE Community.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the meeting myself due to prior engagements, but I am pleased to hear that it went really well. I've spent the whole day looking for reactions to the meeting, only to come back to my room to find an email from Dr. Howard, with his review of the meeting:
Dear Members of the Hampden-Sydney College Community,

Last night’s Town Hall meeting reminded me why my family and I came to this College.  One after another, almost thirty Hampden-Sydney Men stood before a group of three hundred of their peers, teachers, coaches and staff members to denounce emphatically what transpired on November 6th.  These men renewed their commitment to our student code of conduct and reaffirmed their desire to live in an inclusive and respectful community.  They expressed love for their fellow students and confidence in the Student Court.  Most importantly they pledged to put things right.  My role is to help them do just that.

First, the Dean of Students has assigned a highly-decorated member of our campus security team to investigate the incident.  I can assure the investigation will be timely, professional and thorough.  In order to ensure due process, we cannot broadcast the findings immediately as the Student Court, Interfraternity Council and Commonwealth’s Attorney will need to review the report to ensure all aspects are properly adjudicated.  Most importantly, we have learned our own students diffused the situation themselves exercising leadership and good judgment before authorities arrived on the scene.

Second, building on the tremendous outpouring of support from last night’s Town Hall meeting, I have asked the Intercultural Affairs Committee led by Dr. Rene Severin to submit a plan to me in the next few weeks on how we can better educate students on what it takes to ensure our community is one marked by inclusion and respect.  Several students approached me and my colleagues on the faculty and staff last night asking simply “what can I do to help?”. 

Third, we are ultimately an institution of higher learning and though those individuals responsible for this incident will be dealt with it should also serve as a teachable moment and it shall.

Finally, do not waiver in your belief in our fine institution.  Know there were many more people at our Town Hall Meeting than those who misbehaved on Tuesday night.  Together, we will rise to the occasion.
I'm pretty sure that Dr. Howard doesn't care for me too much (I think he's read the blog), but I know that he cares for this school and for the students as a whole. I'm really thankful for how on-the-ball he has been with reacting to this incident, so even though I have disagreed with his actions in the past, I definitely want to thank him for what he is doing now.

I would also like to talk a little bit about the Town Hall Meeting. I wish that I could've been there. Unfortunately, my independent study in theatre required me to be off-campus at the time. I have only heard great things about the meeting, however. It was drawn to my attention by an anonymous commentor on this very post that I haven't drawn enough attention to it. They had something really great to say, though:
most H-SC students are not racists. I know for a fact that there are several campus leaders (including some fraternity presidents) that are raising the accountability bar for their members in the hopes of establishing a stronger brotherhood. High minded men with high minded ideals will always be confronted by inferior individuals who will try to bring them down. I have also found that when people who are "victimized" STOP acting like victims, they are better able to achieve their objectives. In fact, when those who are "victimized" reach out in love and embrace those who seek to diminish them, then they are no longer the "victims" but are, in fact, the VICTORS! Please endeavor to present the sentiments of the majority of the students...people's livelihoods are at stake (particularly the professors who, like the student body, are the heart of the college). We need less chaos in this world...and you are in the perfect leadership position to help change people's minds...let the world see that it's not our sexuality, our race, or our creed that we are judged...but rather that we are judged by the content of our character... as Dr. King prayed for. It is just not fair to the majority of students who share in those sentiments to be cast under the bus with the small minority who chose very poorly for themselves and placed this noble institution in the line of fire. Because of your high-mindedness and great capacity to love, I know you will take all that I have written to your heart. I am praying for a peaceful resolution and for a better Hampden-Sydney College to emerge from this.
This anon was right in urging me to discuss this point. I am disappointed that I haven't been able to speak to any of these students who spoke. I have actually spoken with one student, Matthew Buchanan, Class of 2013, who was able to share his personal experiences, but I don't have anything else to say, except that the meeting was full of people who were ready to see change--full of people who are ready, willing, and hungry to see some form of positivity come out of this horrible atrocity. For those of you reading this, yes it all looks pretty bad, but keep in mind that there is a majority here at HSC that is ready to try to fix things.

Next is a first hand account of last Tuesday as experienced by Kiel Powell, Class of 2014. Kiel is a pretty outspoken Democrat, and I know that he has the ability to infuriate many people with his highly vocal opinions on things, but I also know that he is a pretty good guy. The following is his account of the night:

As a registered democrat and four year supporter of Obama, I was delighted to see CNN and ABC call the election so early on Tuesday night. For us, it was a time of jubilation and excitement. I quickly realized that several of my friends were probably celebrating down at MSU [Minority Student Union] house. James “Bluefield” Lily and I decided to head over sometime between 11:30-11:45.
We both, along with seven other Hampden-Sydney men, live at international house. Due to the position of our house, we had to pass K.A. [A fraternity] While we rejoiced in a resounding victory; the massive crowd at K.A. did their own rejoicing. Only, with their excitement and zeal came fireworks, alcohol, and a lot of hate. They screamed “f**k Obama!” “Romney!” “F**k socialists!” and many derogatory words aimed at Obama and the race he apparently represents. Bluefield and I tried to ignore the obscenities as they quickly saw us and directed their angry rhetoric in our direction. Still, we knew Obama won and nothing they said could take that away from us. As we walked in between MSU and Sigma Chi [another fraternity], the sounds of bigotry, drunken hatred, and fireworks fell a little more faint. Finally, we had reached MSU and could enjoy the company of fellow friends and Obama supporters.

However, several students sat on the front porch of Sigma Chi. As we walked down the hall and turned the corner, several students addressed the two of us. One said, “Yeah! Finally! Somebody is going to take it to those n*****s! Go kick their asses!” to which I replied, “I’m sorry, but I voted for Obama. I have friends here. Have fun being ignorant and hateful.” This caused him to reply consequently, “F**k you too a**hole! You f***ing traitor! F**k Obama! Romney 2012!.” While this was being said, we were already walking to the front door of MSU. Bluefield did not respond to the students’ hate speech and he already was at the door of MSU. I never approached the student or made hostile gestures. This student, likely a Sigma Chi brother, who did have alcohol in his hand, wanted me to attack people because of their race. This is pathetic and despicable! I have never been more offended and angry in my life.

Once inside, we embraced our fellow Obama supporters. However, not even a minute after we arrived, several members of MSU left through the back door. Bluefield and I followed suit. I believe 5-7 other MSU members, including the president and myself, approached the massive crowd gathering at KA. This crowd, this mob, was at least 50, maybe even 70 strong. I want to also make clear the following: not all members of this crowd were KA brothers (many in fact were), there were also members of Sigma Chi and Sigma Nu [yet another frat], as well as students of every college class. However, I must stress the fact that they were a mob of angry, intoxicated students.
They fired off about a dozen fireworks as we approached. None aimed directly at us. Some straight into the air, others slightly towards MSU or International House. Some were even fired towards their own bunker. Anyways, the president of MSU approached the mob slowly and calmly. He stood in defense of MSU, its members, and against the mob’s prejudice. What he did was nothing short of rave. To try and settle this problem with so many on their side; I have great respect for him. Immediately the mob formed a half circle, or a wall, behind the members of the crowd that we were trying to talk to. They looked like they were getting ready for a fight. Many members of this 50+ crowd were focused on the situation at hand. They weren’t screaming; however, they were still muttering hate speech, including “f**k these n*****s.” As a civil conversation began between the President of MSU and several representatives. After a minute or so of discussion it appeared as though their hatred would finally subside.
However, as it remained comparatively tame and quiet, a member of the crowd stood up and shot fireworks at us. The fireworks, narrowly missing myself, hit the ground ten or fifteen feet behind myself and the other seven MSU members. The fireworks, nearly hit two students and a young woman who were passing by.

I hope something is done in regards to the fact that fireworks were shot on the premises of KA, most likely by KA members. Fireworks are illegal in the state of Virginia. These fraternities involved need to be closed this weekend and long term penalties had better be pursued for their involvement! KA’s racism is well known in and out of the HSC community. If the school permits this to continue you will see very few minorities applying here and many leaving. I will not be a part of this school my senior year if it tolerates such hatred. Soon after we were shot at, a member of KA, I believe [name omitted] tried to make sure the situation did not get out of hand and he talked to the other MSU members and they headed back towards MSU.
As the other members of MSU returned to the house, I noticed Bluefield was near International House. As I proceeded to walk away, not saying a word, the mob’s attention turned towards me and I was addressed. They screamed “F**k you Kiel! You’re an a**hole! F**k off!” repeatedly until I crossed the streets and reached my house. I walked inside and called campus security twice. I assumed the campus security was busy and dealing with similar problems on campus. However, it is still unacceptable for them to not answer. In hind sight, with what happened four years ago, the police should have known this would happen. But I have great respect for everything they do on this campus. I then grabbed my car keys and moved my car with Bluefield.

When I returned inside to get Bluefield to come out with me to move my car, he and Davonte Bradley were talking about what we experienced. We all decided it would be best if we left campus, one reason being Davonte was black. We became concerned for our safety and believed that the violence and anger of the mob might come across the street to our house. For this reason we left campus for about half an hour, in hopes that maybe their aggression would calm down. The 50+ member mob, primarily composed of KA brothers, could have easily decided to follow Bluefield and I back to our house. I locked the front door and deadbolts. I did not sleep that night. I locked my dorm door.  I stayed up with my knife next to me. With how violent the crowd was, coupled with the alcohol being consumed, I expected the worst.

I have never seen hatred towards a group of people like this! This attitude, which was clearly and openly displayed for all to see, should serve as a wake-up call to all of the Hampden-Sydney community. This racism that is well known has persisted for far too long! We must stand united against such hatred so that we become the brotherhood we say we are! What I witnessed Tuesday night was something out of a civil rights documentary. I have never felt so ashamed to be a Hampden-Sydney man. The members of this mob that I bared witness to, as well as the events which took place before I arrived at MSU, should leave us contemplating the school’s true message. Are we a brotherhood or a school that has brothers that tolerate such hatred? I hope the school, administration, and the community can stand united in the course of acceptance for all Hampden-Sydney students. We cannot tolerate this hate any longer. It can and should end with us. We all have the ability to move forward to a brighter future in which all Hampden-Sydney College students are treated equally and respectfully. We must also make certain those involved pay for their transgression. This is 2012, not 1968! It’s time we make a change and act like this is the 21st century!
Hate is vicious. It is gross and disgusting and has no place at an establishment that prides itself on creating "good men" and "good citizens." Something has to be done about this sort of hatred. Also, I just got off the phone with Tanner Knox, Class of 2013, a member of Sigma Nu and an avid reader of my blog. Like me, he is greatly disturbed by these events. He also asked me if I could remind everyone (just as I should've have done, but forgot to do before I posted this the first time) that these are student reactions, and should, in no way, be considered as absolutely true evidence. No one has been proven guilty in this incident, and wont be proven so until after the investigation. Additionally, Tanner let me know that Sigma Nu as an organization does not condone the behavior of the students from Tuesday Night. I've spoken with members of Sigma Nu in the past, and I know Tanner as an honest person, so I would like to include that I don't think they were responsible for this. I don't think any of the fraternities, themselves, were responsible for the incident, anyway: Instead, the incident was caused by individuals, not organizations.

This next statement is from James "Bluefield" Lily, Class of 2014, who was with Kiel that night. Bluefield is another great guy who is active in his church, in campus activity, and is a genuinely loving and caring individual (if not a little weird at times).

My name is James Lilly. I am a Hampden-Sydney student and I support this college. I was one of the people who witnessed the disgrace that happened Tuesday night. I did try contacting Campus Security by phone, but was unable to get in touch with them (I want to make it clear that I fully believe that the police had good reason for this). I saw what I saw from my place of residency on Campus, the International House. I had previously walked with Kiel Powell to help move his Obama Sticker covered car from the street. We were concerned that it would be damaged by students. We walked to the MSU house to celebrate the announcement that Obama won, which had just been announced. I left the house within a few minutes of arriving, leaving to go to my room because I had a paper to finish and had gone shortly ahead of the group who came after me, so I was not able to see faces. On my way back to the house, I saw what appeared to be KA leaders (I don’t actually know for sure) shout to the crowd that everyone who is not a KA member needed to leave. His request appeared to have been ignored. I had just walked in my housed door when I heard a lot of commotion so I went outside to investigate. I witnessed a large gathering of people (40+ people) which started at KA (I'm not directly accusing KA) start shooting Roman candle fireworks from the roof of the KA house holding the fireworks in their hands. The fireworks were brought to the ground and were set off; some hit the KA house, others went toward the MSU house. I saw 5 or so MSU students plus Kiel Powell came out of the MSU house and walked toward the parking lot between the ex-Beta house and KA and went toward the KA group. I heard one MSU student ask them to not shoot the Fireworks toward the houses, warning of possible fire. I then witnessed the large group of people from the KA property form a half circle and ONE person started to shoot the fireworks toward the MSU group, the balls of fire going only feet from their heads and ONE or TWO students threw glass bottles at the MSU group. The whole time, a few students were shooting remarks like "kill them n*****s." I was calling the police at this point and went inside to warn my black roommate Davonte Bradley '14. A short time later Kiel came into the room and he tried to call the police 3 times. We decided that we, all Obama supporters, needed to leave campus to be safe, so we went to get McDonald's. I think the group of the people who did this acted on their own, mainly out of drunkenness, and not as a whole. I think it is wrong to say that this college is full of racists because it is not. A majority of this Campus does not support these acts. I do believe the individuals involved should be punished, but I think that this situation has been blown out of proportion.
Bluefield has an excellent point that I think it is important to remember. Just as we saw at the Town Hall Meeting that Dr. Howard talked about, this campus is not full of racists. Unfortunately, there is a group of people who are totally willing to make the whole school look bad, and they are the ones that we are having a problem with. I personally disagree with Bluefield's belief that the situation has been blown out of proportion. I believe that this is a big deal, and has been a big deal for a really long time. I think that it is incredibly important that this incident is being discussed so much. If it is "out of proportion", then I believe it has to be for a good thing. If this kind of ignorance and hate continues to go unnoticed, then we are giving off the message that it doesn't really matter.

It DOES matter. No one should ever have to experience this sort of hate, either directly or indirectly. This next piece is from Davonte Bradley, Class of 2014. I've known Davonte since his freshman year. He's a great guy and is always willing to help people out. I think he's funny, smart, and honest about his opinions.
When the election was finally called and President Obama was declared the winner, I had a very strong feeling that there would be quite the negative response around campus, and especially on Fraternity Circle in the direction of KA. Shortly after Obama's re-election was decided, I heard what sounded like three gunshots go off somewhere on the Circle. Bluefield and Kiel both went to move their cars after the "shots" were heard, but they learned that the "shots" were actually fireworks. I was still rather worried at that point, however. I heard news from Adam [Turner, another Junior] that people were getting rowdy and destructive at E dorm which made me think that something similar was bound to happen down where we were. A little later Bluefield and Kiel decided that they should go down to MSU as they knew a few friends who had in fact voted for Obama and wanted to celebrate with them. I didn't think it was a great idea, so I stayed behind in my room. Minutes later I heard Bluefield running frantically up the stairs and he entered the room looking panicked. He told me that we need to either lock the doors or leave campus. I immediately knew that something had happened down there, or something WAS going on down there that was dangerous. Bluefield informed me that there was a lot of angry drunk people outside upset about Romney's loss, and those people were firing fireworks and throwing beer bottles at people near MSU. From what he said, and what I could hear from the room, it sounded like there was a mob out there that was targeting African Americans. Kiel returned shortly after Bluefield and told me that there were racial slurs being shouted and that he was actually told to go into MSU to attack people there. That confirmed my suspicions. MSU is predominantly African American and I assumed that they would all be considered Obama sympathizers. It was then when I decided that I didn't even want to be anywhere near the campus because I felt like the campus was at the brink of utter chaos. I feared for my safety and we unanimously decided that we should leave, and we did. We didn't return for about 30 minutes or so and by that time everything had cooled down.

However, to be completely honest, that situation didn't surprise me at all. Friends of mine, myself, and a great deal of people at MSU felt like something like this was going to happen if Obama was re-elected. We all saw it coming. Actually, I thought it was going to be far worse than it was. In the case of racially charged incidents on this campus, I can't say that I'll ever be surprised about them. I think it's sad, however, that it feels like there's nothing I can do to prevent these sorts of things from happening even though I know that they WILL eventually happen at some time, some place, to some person. 
Davonte, it makes me sad that you weren't surprised, because that means, as you suggested, you were expecting it. This sort of racially charge hate (or hate of any kind, for that matter) shouldn't be something that we just expect and accept as a sort of inevitability. Instead, we should be able to feel safe at this school. We should be able to feel welcome and appreciated.

In conclusion here, I want to ask a very simple sort of question that attributes to a huge worry that I have: Why couldn't these guys reach campus security? Why wasn't campus security on the circle? If students like Davonte could predict that something like this would happen, why wasn't Campus Security worried, as well? I know that neither Kiel nor Bluefield blame Campus Security for being unreachable, but I kinda want to. What the hell? I have personally never seen Campus Security do anything. Sure, I'll see them patrol around a bit, and occasionally pull someone over, but I've never seen or heard of them dealing with these really big matters, or even being prepared to deal with them. I have tried in the past on multiple occasions to reach campus security to no avail. Incidents that happened in my first year here might've been avoided, had they answered, but no. Do you know what I want? Campus Security. We do not have Campus Security. We have a group of officers ready to serve as campus police, but we do not have a force prepared to offer any sort of support and security to this school. The guys at MSU should not have had to deal with the incident from last Tuesday. Students should not be so frightened that they have to leave campus. Hell, I should be able to walk around campus with my boyfriend without the fear that one of us will be hurt by a drunken bigot! Yes, education could help prevent some of these problems from happening, but it wont stop them all. What we really need is a force to help protect us when they do, inevitably, occur.

I know that I said I was concluding, but I do have one more thing to say that just came up. Prompted by the posting on the Hampden-Sydney College page on Facebook of the college's official statement, students, alumni, and others have shared their opinions of matters involving the event, as well as other concerns that they have. One that bothered me, specifically, is the suggestion that MSU "is apparently a place for racial segregation." MSU is not a place of segregation. In fact:
The MSU was established to educate as well as make the Hampden-Sydney community aware of different cultures and backgrounds that exist on campus. Moreover, this organization provides its members with an environment to express views and concerns that are unique to minorities. Although we are officially a club, our organization more closely resembles a fraternity. This organization is open to any and every person on campus who would either like to promote diversity on campus or be a part of a close-knit family. (Taken from the HSC Website).
MSU provides a home to anyone who finds themselves a part of a minority at Hampden-Sydney, and even opens it's arms to people who would defend and support diversity at an otherwise non-diverse college. I could, if I wanted, join MSU as a gay man, even though I'm white. I'm pretty sure there's even a white student living in the MSU house this semester. Anyway, my point is, it is not for segregational purposes.

Another thing that bothers me is this comment:

 "Why is this on Facebook? Shouldn't this be dealt with internally in private?? Poor taste putting this out there........"

NO! THIS IS EXACTLY MY POINT! This is the whole point of this blog, too! HSC tries to handle too many things internally, and cover up when this type of bad thing happens. But the school should be embarrassed. We should all be embarrassed. It was that single group of students that did the deed, but by covering things up and not exposing this type of hate--by not accepting responsibility for the wrongs done at this school--we are all individually to blame for this act of hatred. Several people on the page have also expressed their concerns about the post even being put on the Facebook group. "It might hurt our recruitment efforts" seems to be the concern for these people. ARE YOU F***ING SERIOUS!?! If this type of BS is going on at this school, recruitment efforts should be hurt. Especially if your concern is for recruitment of new students, and not for the safety of students who already attend. /sarcasm It's great to know that the school cares about the students until they get here, and then we don't! /end sarcasm.

Another point: I know that there is concern that not all sides of the story are being told. Surely MSU prompted this attack? From reports that I have heard, yes, MSU was there, celebrating Obama's victory. They were just as much within their right to do this as members of KA or others were to express their disappointment at Romney's defeat. To an extent, it is okay with MSU to have taken bragging rights, and rubbed it in the faces of Romney supporters. Even though it's immature, I hear that that is actually part of what happened. That being said, MSU was not throwing glass bottles at anyone. They were not aggressively shouting messages of hate or launching fireworks at anyone or near anything that could burn. I am saddened to see that people have begun to victim-blame MSU. The members of this mob--this riot, even--are the ones responsible for this. Even if MSU "instigated" anything with their celebration (and I don't believe that they really did), they are the victims of this event, not the perpetrators.

This discussion is still on-going, and I simply don't have time to read all of it (I am a student, after all. I have homework), so I am going to end this article here, with a quick reminder: If you would like to add anything to this article, email me at

Stay Strong, readers. There is hope for the future of Hampden-Sydney. I used to think that this school would be better served as a crater with a monument in the center, but I have grown to believe that there is a chance that this wretched wasteland of a college can grow and return out of the past and into the present.

This is Walter McCoy, Class of 2013, signing off!


  1. Easily my favorite blog of yours yet. I'm rather ashamed to find a safe haven there anymore. I'm happy to think no one I knew was involved on bigotry end.

    1. I'm glad that the people you know here are safe, and I'm sorry that you are ashamed. I'm embarrassed to be here, too, though. Have hope, my dear, because change is coming. Things wont right themselves, but they will be righted by our activity!

  2. Why should such racism be hushed? Whomever made that comment just offended me and I'm sure many others who were involved! Something like this should be public

    1. I agree. Thank you for your comment, Kiel!

  3. No, it shouldn't. Airing your dirty laundry in public is a great way to get people whose strongest inclination is towards the status quo to feel like you're cutting around the chain of command, ignoring established protocol and authorities, and tacitly saying Hampden-Sydney can't take care of its problems without wearing them on its sleeve. That is to say, the way one would hope a group of adult men would handle a problem. Going outside the campus is going to create a lot of negative feelings towards whatever cause you are advocating by people who initially didn't care or would have sided with a morally upright position because you sought the right thing and did it the wrong way. Racism is bad and silently allowing it by not stopping it is bad. Denigrating the reputation of the entire college by making it a matter of public concern is not going to help you in any way. The appropriate way for matters of friction to be resolved within a family is to accept that while x person or group may be wrong, they are still someone with whom you side against those outside the family. I believe this approach is equally suitable, and indeed necessary, here. This is not a problem with a specific incident, it is a problem of where the hearts and mind of the students and community writ large lie. If you want to accomplish your goals in a popular, democratic manner, you should realize how much negative sentiment you are going to engender by calling in the authorities to fix your problems. Does the child who constantly tugs at a teacher's skirt get invited to many parties? You are never going to solve a conflict by expanding the scope, scale, and turf of the conflict--if anything you are going to create more entrenched sentiment against you. If easy co-existence is what you seek, and ostensibly it is, then you will get there by winning over the apathetic people whose primary sympathies lie with whomever seems to not be causing problems. Finally--if a bunch of drunk guys are yelling and looking rowdy, it is usually not a great idea to go up and try and settle differences (especially ones in things as significant as general worldview) right then and there. That's how fights happen. If you don't want a fight, don't go near people who look ready for one and tell them to calm down. When they do not respond favorably when you do that, I have about as much sympathy for you as I do for someone who travels to Siberia and finds out it's really cold.

    1. Dear Anon,

      I can respect your opinion. A group of adult men SHOULD be able to handle a problem on its own without having to "Air dirty laundry in public." I agree that a family should be able to take care of its own issue internally, without calling in outside support. Of course that child who is always tugging teacher's skirt doesn't get invited.

      Unfortunately, there are several issues here. First, I know, as do several others, that the "adult men" (should you choose to call them that) of Hampden-Sydney College /cannot/ deal with their own problems. If Hampden-Sydney Men were capable of fixing issues internally, then this hate violence would not have happened. If Hampden-Sydney Men were capable of dealing with their own problems, they should have done so before my friends were endangered. They should've fixed problems before I have walked this campus for several years with a constant paranoid fear that one day I will be attacked again like I was attacked during my first week of school here. So yes, Grown Men should be able to deal with their own problems. If you can show me where these Grown Men are on campus, though, I'd greatly appreciate it, because incidents like these make me wonder if there actually are any here. (And yes, I do implicate myself in there. The Hampden-Sydney motto is "Come here as youths so that you may leave as men." I don't expect to find Grown Men men, but know that everyone who leaves here is expected to have reached that stage by graduation.)

      Second, a family may be able to care for itself and fix its own family issues. Your right, no one outside that family really has to care. But Hampden-Sydney is barely a family. If you want to call it a family, you have to look at it like one of those fractured families, where one of the brothers is in jail for drug trafficking, another for rape, where the mother of the house is divorced away, the father is loving but ineffective as a patriarch, and the remaining children don't know how to manage their freedom without discipline. I do not feel like I am part of a family at Hampden-Sydney; never have. With our fraternity system that creates internal schisms, the racism we experience, the hate based on sexual orientation, and the separations that come based on economic class, our family is fractured and broken. Yeah, I'll consider my classmates brothers, but family is made of stronger stuff than that. This is why our problems cannot be managed like a family; because we aren't one.

      Finally, in terms of the child tugging on his teacher's skirt. This isn't about popularity. That kid is going to be unpopular. That kid will continue to be picked on for quite some time. But that kid is also me. That kid is someone who has tried to reason with the world around him, who has assessed the situation, realized his own weaknesses, and has sought help from someone more powerful than himself. Go ahead and call me a tattle-tale. I don't care. I don't care about what is "popular". I don't give one flying f**k how this makes the school look. The school deserves to be embarrassed. If the school wants to look good, then how about this: STOP DOING THINGS THAT MAKE THE SCHOOL LOOK BAD! Simple. To the point. I report on things that people aren't revealing, but in the end, this is MY blog. I do not have the school's best intentions at thought when I write; I write for myself, based on what I believe to be right. When I was making my college choices, I picked HSC because they threw money at me. If I could've read this blog--if I knew about the things that happened here, then, right under people's noses--I wouldn't have come here, even if I was making a net profit by doing so.

    2. Oh, one more thing: You're telling me that it's not a great idea to go up to a group of drunken nuts to try to settle differences. Duh. But what other choice did they have? Call the unresponsive campus security force again? No. Wait for the mob to come to them, or burn something down with their fireworks? Nope. Being drunk is no excuse for what that mob did. If you're blaming the alcohol, then something needs to be done about that. Since no one will do that, then we must assume that the blame rest squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrators of the hate. Do /not/ blame the students who went to them for reason. They are victims of hate, and I am not cool with victim blaming.

  4. Walter....I have always enjoyed your blog. I believe that you are a talented young man and gifted writer. I also know that you have a great amount of integrity...particularly journalistic integrity. Passions are running very high right now on they rightly should. The actions of the young men on fraternity circle were disgusting. Drunkeness and disappointment over election results are only explanations...certainly not excuses. However, another BIG part of this story (which is not been given very much press) was the Town Hall meeting. At this meeting, the REAL Hampden-Sydney Men gathered in solidarity for their MSU brothers. Many emotional testimonies were given emphatically decrying the actions of a few stupid idiots. This is a time of great pain for H-SC. So...rather than throwing more vinegar on an open wound, wouldn't the campus (an even the world) be better served by seeing the true men of the college come together in the spirit of peace and reconciliation? Rather than more acrimony, shouldn't you also be interviewing those young men who spoke from their hearts at the town hall meeting against the incident? In fact, most H-SC students are not racists. I know for a fact that there are several campus leaders (including some fraternity presidents) that are raising the accountability bar for their members in the hopes of establishing a stronger brotherhood. High minded men with high minded ideals will always be confronted by inferior individuals who will try to bring them down. I have also found that when people who are "victimized" STOP acting like victims, they are better able to achieve their objectives. In fact, when those who are "victimized" reach out in love and embrace those who seek to diminish them, then they are no longer the "victims" but are, in fact, the VICTORS! Please endeavor to present the sentiments of the majority of the students...people's livelihoods are at stake (particularly the professors who, like the student body, are the heart of the college). We need less chaos in this world...and you are in the perfect leadership position to help change people's minds...let the world see that it's not our sexuality, our race, or our creed that we are judged...but rather that we are judged by the content of our character... as Dr. King prayed for. It is just not fair to the majority of students who share in those sentiments to be cast under the bus with the small minority who chose very poorly for themselves and placed this noble institution in the line of fire. Because of your high-mindedness and great capacity to love, I know you will take all that I have written to your heart. I am praying for a peaceful resolution and for a better Hampden-Sydney College to emerge from this. Much love to you "Flash". <3

    1. I'm glad that you enjoy my blog, and I appreciate that you believe and recognize my integrity. I do recognize that passions are running high, as well they should be. I felt that it was my personal responsibility as the writer of this blog, however, to publish a story about the events that transpired here. In order for this post to stay relevant, however, I had to publish it by at least last night. This meant that I did not have time to cover the Town Hall meeting that I was unable to attend. I do admit, though, that you are completely correct in what you say: the truly honorable men of HSC were at that meeting and spoke their piece about it all. I would love to interview these guys about the town hall meeting, and if I get the chance to, I'll write another post to include that part of the saga, but until that time, I simply don't have any information. I don't know who spoke, and no one that did speak has been in contact with me. What I can do is this: if you check this post in a couple minutes, I'm going to elaborate a little more about what you said, and will even direct people to your comment. You are completely correct, and I appreciate you for saying what you did.

    2. Thank you Walter...the College has produced many many men of honor and integrity...and that fact cannot be disputed. I await your new blog which will tout the actions of the majority of H-SC students who were outraged at the reprehensible stupidity of a few. Perhaps someone to contact to find out what happened and which students spoke during the Town Hall meeting would be a faculty member...or Anita Garland, Col. Snead, etc. It is my understanding that all spoke passionately and from their hearts and their sentiments should not be marginalized or deemed insincere. It is also extremely important to fairly portray the incident and call out all who may have contributed to the animosity. As I said in my early post...there will be no satisfaction in destroying the livelihoods of those who are truly dedicated to the students as well as the college. There will be no satisfaction in sullying the character of the student body as a whole...remember...if you chose to seek revenge, "you must first dig two graves". I am also sure you have heard the saying, "To the victors go the spoils!" I contend that no group will be "victorious" if they chose a contentious path in order to make their point! Our greatest triumphs rise out of the ashes of our greatest mistakes! That is my hope for the college and that is my hope for our nation. Someone has to stop the bleeding and it might as well be you! :-)

  5. This would not have happened when I were a student there. The fraternity brothers were, as you stated, within their respective properties. You're instigative celebrations were provoking to a group of drunken college students who felt strongly about the state of the country.

    First of all, before I address anything else, you need to behave with class. You knowingly were celebrating loud enough for a group that you knew could react this way to hear. Then you broadcast the inner workings of a very private college to the web. Hampden-Sydney is, or was, Hampden-Sydney for a reason.

    I guarantee there is more to this than an election. You move, MSU, the cause of both stabbings and shootings on our beloved campus, then you put them in the middle of a southern fraternity scene in a house that was taken away from a fraternity multiple times. This is going to create problems.

    Add in to the immature and plain idiotic bird call that the MSU liked to do during dinner and around campus, which irritated every rational human being on that campus. Bottom line is that the MSU members have intentionally provoked what they saw as a old-ward majority over the past several years. I in no way condone the behavior of the Hampden-Sydney brothers, as it is not gentlemanly. However Hampden-Sydney is a special place that appeals to certain mindsets, and the lack of class on both sides of this story is embarrassing to all.

    Then you have former MSU members, like Clem, bragging about how when he was a student the MSU would have fought. Cool -- this is exactly why nobody likes MSU.

    1. I don't know when you were a student here, but I've heard reports of this same sort of violence happening since the days of legal segregation, and even early. there's a strong possibility that it happened frequently during your time here, but either ignored it, or you were just unaware of it. I doubt you are to blame for either part. Now to address your points:

      First, I do /not/ have to behave with class. I am free to say whatever I want. I have never claimed to be "classy" and never will. I will speak as plainly and bluntly as I so desire, because addressing issues in this sort of "classy" respect is typically a way to skirt around touchy subjects. My whole reason for writing is to just stomp on those touchy subjects. If you think I write too brashly, Go read one of the other thousand news articles that are circulating. I would, by the way, like to point out that I was /not/ celebrating at all. Though I admit to being relieved that Obama won, I am not one to get over exciting about the machinations of the American political system. Additionally, I was not the first to "Broadcast the inner workings of a very private college to the web"; you can thank the school itself for letting that ship sail.

      Second, I never mentioned any stabbings or shootings... Is there something else you are thinking of? Of course there is more to this than the election. The election was a simple catalyst that drove people who were already feeling race hatred to act on their emotions. The problem here is not the election, but those pre-existing emotions of the students involved.

      Finally, do you have any idea how racist you sound? Like, seriously, sir? Your comment is exactly what makes me write things like this. If I ignore your obvious rhetorical and grammatical mistakes, then I am still left at the end with you slamming an organization for a minor sort of "annoyance" (Namely the bird call). [also, yes, I am intentionally emulating your rhetorical style here to insult you in the same way you insult MSU]. No one is perfect. I know that that bird call annoys me. But you know what annoys me more? Being called fag at least twice weekly during my freshman year. Did I shoot fireworks or throw beer bottles at the people who did that? Know. Would I have been within my protective rights to do so? Probably not, but I could try to debate that point.

      My point here is this: even if an organization like MSU, for example, annoys part of the campus, which I'm not saying they did, but if they had, that still does not justify violence, at all. For you to say, though, that they "irritated every rational human being on that campus", I would have to ask how you define "rational". From context, I would assume your "rationality" would be along the lines of "white supremacy" "bigotry" and "close-mindedness." This is not the way I should view this school, but it is the way that the school and people like you have made me view it. Change is here. It is happening whether you like it or not: Now you can fight it, or you can rock out to it! (I think I borrowed that from "Hairspray", but it applies here).

    2. First building a strawman around gramatical mistakes deviates from the issues at hand and is the mark of the over-inflated egos that our rhetoric program rightly awards us. However it does not benefit logic and marks a poor argument.

      (As an aside, read your own post: "Did I shoot fireworks or throw beer bottles at the people who did that? Know.")

      I was a student just a few years ago - and the MSU was very over the top and in your face about everything. Obviously not the entire organization, but select individuals. Just as how the "mob" represents a very vocal minority of the student body. There are extremes in any issue and that is what calls the bad attention.

      However Hampden-Sydney is a haven for people who want a conservative education in a traditional environment. The rate of change that is happening under Howard's administration is resulting in several instances that are blackening our reputation and discrediting our degrees. This did not happen when I was there - the biggest issue was football players fighting with fraternity brothers. Then stabbings and shootings entered the picture - this is going to cause unrest amongst a student body that feels safe because they are with people they can affiliate with. MSU introduces the town of Farmville to our campus, and negative events follow.

      Both groups in this issue need to act with class, as does every single Hampden-Sydney student. Read To Manners Born, To Manners Bred. It is expected of you, if you are to wear our crest, to behave as a gentleman (and this goes for the "mob" too) and to put the interests of the college above your own. There are so many stories that you do not know about, some that happened within the past 5 years, that are not racial in nature but would sully our reputation. These are not public news because there is such thing as a reputation to protect. The more you publicize the negatives of our campus to the world the more you are placing a scarlet letter on your own degree once you achieve it.

      Hopefully you transfer though. I can tell by you stating that you do not have to behave with class that you are not, and never will be, one of us.

    3. The only reason I "Built a strawman" was because that's exactly what you were doing by using petty insults against the organization. I'm glad that you recognized the fact that it is an ineffective rhetorical strategy. (I would like to point out, again, that I emulated your strategy on purpose...). Also, thanks for catching my blunder. I know I'm not perfect, and I appreciate it when people can catch those errors and put me in my place!

      That being said, my point about MSU still stands. The issue here now is this specific event. I wasn't here before, but the very fact that you, an alumnus, are willing to be fairly blatantly racist and will inflammatorily blame the MSU because they "annoyed people" kinda paints a picture in and of itself of how things might have been like during your time here. Now I'm sure you're a great guy, but I don't know you, and I don't like your attitude.

      Even if HSC was at one point a "haven for people who want a conservative education in a traditional environment", times change. This college, under Howard's administration is going through some changes that will finally pull the school out of the 1700s.

      In terms of "To Manners Born, To Manners Bred", I'll take my own path in life, thank you. I don't need a dated "idiot's guide to looking good in front of others" to tell me how to be honorable. And it wearing the HSC crest means that I have to act in the way you suggest, then I would prefer not to. This is my fourth year here. I have learned a lot, both academically, and about life. If getting a degree from here means that I have to accept the drivel your spouting and become one of you, then thanks, but no thanks. I don't want a degree from HSC if it means I will be identified with a group of close-minded white supremacists who can't accept change. I /will/ be getting a degree from here, though, and I will gladly accept the scarlet letter, and will wear it with pride. I will not transfer and run away, even though I should, because (1) I graduate in Spring, and (2) I have hope for this school.

  6. It's fascinating to me that supporters of the most divisive President in American history, a President who spews hate against anyone who does not support his Socialist --- and yes, he IS a Socialist! --- policies, a man who makes war on the producers (which many H-SC men will become) in this country, and a man whose supporters engaged in an extended smear campaign against Conservatives, Republicans, and Mitt Romney in particular, would complain of "hate."

    Nothing like a little projection with your coffee in the morning.

  7. Well, Walter, you've kicked the hornet's nest and the stingers are out.

    I applaud your courage and think Hampden-Sydney is lucky to have your voice. This whole episode saddens me, but does not surprise. The venom has always been there, lurking under civility, and yet the good folks at Hampden-Sydney have always far outnumbered the others. Perhaps there will be a cleansing to come from this. I hope so.

    I wanted to write because you, sir, are a credit to the College. Always keep that thought close to your heart.

    I hate posting as "Anonymous" but I don't choose to engage in a one-on-one with some folks. Just finished with all that before the election. BTW, I am an alum, almost 50 years out.

    1. I appreciate your words, sir. I've spent this whole day in a relative funk over this whole mess, and I still have the nagging fear in the back of my mind that I'm going to be attacked sometime today. I'm glad that you think I am a credit to the school, though. I hope that, in time, the school will appreciate me, too.

      And no worries about the anonymity.

  8. I am the anon who posted last night. I have only a few points in response--first, waving the flag of victim-blaming is a great way of not encouraging rational behavior. You will notice in criminal law that self-defense arguments don't work if you have, among other things, failed to retreat from your attacker, or provoked the situation generally. The only place where you don't have a duty to retreat is your house (or your job, sometimes), and this was a case of the guys in MSU leaving their house and going over into the adjoining house's lawn. If a group as large as is alleged in this story--fifty, or even a whopping seventy--people are yelling at me, and I live in a house with 11 occupants, I'm going to do a little quick math and realize that unless I can batman in and take out about 40 of them one by one then maybe not inflaming the problem is the smart thing to do. I do not think this should be a controversial idea; this is very basic reasoning. The cops do come when called, if slowly, and I am quite sure if they didn't that night, and your proposed consequence of a burned down building occurred, the kids in MSU would have a very well-founded lawsuit on their hands for negligence and likely a nice payday as a result. They had no pressing need to escalate the problem and they did so; I don't think that fact should be completely ignored. (Or perhaps "whitewashed?")

    My point about tugging on the teacher's skirt was part of a larger point I made that you ignored. My point is that if you want to solve the problem on campus by actually changing what anyone thinks, the absolute worst way to do it is to try and force opinion change from above, or even worse, outside the college. This isn't even a good/bad argument I'm making, this is a "this will accomplish your goal" or "this won't accomplish your goal" evaluation.

    I realize that in effect being told to be the bigger man or group is not a particularly appealing idea when faced with people who act like assholes. That's kind of the point, if it were easy to do then children would do it. I think the core difference between my evaluation of these circumstances and yours is your admission that you don't care if it makes Hampden-Sydney look bad to go outside the college--and by the way, I want to be clear that going to the admin, board, w/e within the College is also perfectly appropriate as far as I'm concerned. It might invoke the ire of some, but not me, as long as the consequences only fall on those who behaved badly. We have seen in the last two years that the admin will sometimes respond to a fly with a bazooka. I don't think you should conflate the media outside the college with college admin because they are very distinct things. Invoking authorities in general isn't what I think was done wrong here, just those outside HSC.

    If you prioritize "winning" (somehow) over the good of HSC, then that is why we disagree. I'd close by pointing out what is maybe an easy, but still an important, counterpoint that's going to come into many people's heads when they see you saying that--if you don't care about HSC, why do you expect anything different from it (either the students or the admin?)

    1. I'm not suggesting that the things I have said would work in the court of law, but, look: there was a chance of fire happening. If a fire broke out, students could have very easily been hurt (like in the TAC fire from last year). I'm personally glad that the students took measures to assure that this did not happen, rather than waiting for it to happen, and accept payment for it (not cool). I stand by my statement that this is victim blaming. The MSU students were well within their right to celebrate a historic victory. The mob began participating in activity that could physically harm their neighbors, so vocal action was taken in the form of MSU members asking for the mob to cease and desist. When the mob became aggressive, shouted racial slurs, threw glass bottles (those hurt, btw) and shot fireworks at students, that is where everything went too far.

      To your second point, I wouldn't say that I ignored it. To be honest, I just didn't get it. I think I might understand a little better now, and would like to add that my only goal here is to actually expose what is happening. My only hope by writing this is that people will start paying attention to the fact that the things I write are never really publicized anywhere else. If good comes from it, alright. I'm okay with that. If nothing comes from it, I'll be disheartened, but I'll live.

      Next part: I was not personally involved at all with contacting authorities. You might notice that my post didn't even go public until after countless other new sites published their own stories. TO be honest, my story is probably late. I would LOVE IT is it got national recognition, because that would be a big achievement in my life, but I don't expect it to. I write for myself, but my primary audience is the students of the school, the faculty, professors (occasional alumni), and anyone that happens to stumble across it.

      Finally, I don't know what you meaning about prioritizing "'winning'...over the good of HSC". I will say though, because I think it might get at what you mean, that I have strong feelings toward this school. I like what it stands for, as far as it's motto, the concept of making "good men and good citizens" and all that jazz, but I don't care for the way it has been handled. I've experienced a shit-ton of hate aimed directly at me for no reason. My blog is, I admit, a retaliation to being called a faggot for three years. Whatever. I would love for this school to change, definitely, but I don't have great expectations for the school. I do, however, expect more out of people. Because everyone here is a person, and a lot of what I see here represents some of the worst aspects of humanity.

      There's also a lot of good that happens here, too. I appreciate your comments, and I'm glad that you have opinions worthy of discussing. I hope that you will look for my follow-up article that will likely be posted sometime next week that will deal with the responses to this incident.

  9. Nothing against you Walter, but the fact that you use Kiel Powell as a reliable source of information is a complete joke. Kiel Powell is known for embellishing stories to the point of pure fabrication. From having numerous classes with him, it is evident he is a loudmouth that knows everything about nothing. The fact that Powell actually had the audacity to blatantly accuse an organization based off what he thinks is "most likely" is just not factual and bordering on slander. I say this not based on his political views, his race, or any other factor; the kid is a moron. I would encourage you to perhaps interview the President of MSU, a genuinely smart and rational man, versus arguably the biggest clown in the class of 2014. The events that transpired that night were inherently wrong; however, it was a small number of students who were shouting racial slurs, and even a smaller group (2 perhaps) that took it farther than that. Many were trying to break it up. In regards to the perpetrators, their actions are inexcusable, and they should be severely punished. I hope you actually try to get an unbiased report of the events that occurred (with actual credible witnesses).

    1. I am well aware of how Kiel is perceived by members of the student body, but I do have several testimonials that support the validity of the things Kiel saw. I personally asked Kiel to write something for me because I know how brash and passionate he can be with his opinions. I do intend to ask the president of MSU for an interview, and if he grants me one, I will include it in my follow-up article that will showcase the various reactions to the incident. (this will be in the following week).

      Thank you for reading, though.