claremont (ap) | A Claremont college professor who claimed she was targeted in an anti-Semitic hate crime that provoked campus protests denied police allegations that she staged the vandalism.
“This is like a very big deal if they think I’m a suspect,’ Kerri F. Dunn, a visiting professor of psychology at Claremont McKenna College and Jewish convert from Catholicism, told the Los Angeles Times. “I didn’t want any of this from the beginning. This is so overshadowing the bigger problem on campus, which is that the administration has turned its head regularly on hate speech and hate crimes.’
She reported on Tuesday, March 9, that while she was speaking at a campus forum on racial intolerance, her car was spray-painted with anti-Semitic and racial slurs, the tires slashed and the windows broken.
But police said two witnesses came forward with allegations that Dunn did it herself. Police said Dunn gave inconsistent statements during two interviews conducted jointly by the Claremont Police Department and the FBI.
Police said they forwarded their findings to the district attorney’s office. The FBI was considering whether or not to press charges against Dunn, though she was not taken into custody.
The alleged hate crime was seen as the latest in a rash of recent hate incidents, including a burning of a cross used in an art project and the writing of racial slurs on a calendar.
It galvanized this close-knit college community known for its rigorous academics, with faculty canceling classes and students holding a day of rallies that culminated in a large protest at Claremont McKenna College where Dunn spoke.
“This was a well-planned-out act of terrorism,’ she told a crowd of some 2,500 students during the demonstration on Wednesday, March 10.
Students and faculty were shocked by the new allegations.
“She basically insulted this whole school and embarrassed us all. She kind of tricked us,’ Glen Kim, 21, said last week. “I don’t know what to think. I can’t explain why she did this.”