Washington, DC, December 15, 2015 --(PR.com
)-- It’s now been almost a month since, according to the Washington Post, Harvard Law School denounced actions by persons who placed tape over the photos of several black law professors, and referred the incident for investigation as a possible hate crime, but there has been no follow up announcement of who the perpetrators are, or why their identities haven't yet been discovered, notes law professor John Banzhaf.
This is suspicious, not only because of the amount of time which has elapsed without any update from Harvard, but also because its web site shows that final exams have begun, says Banzhaf.
This appears strange and suspicious, since the number of likely suspects seems quite small, at least according to the RoyalAsses website, and, as noted below, culprits behind similar racial incidents at other schools have often been uncovered within only a few days, says Banzhaf.
Although it is possible that the tape was applied by racist white law students as Harvard - according to its statement in the New York Times - seems to believe, many have suggested that it was more likely to have been a simple retaliation for one or both earlier defacements by black law students, says Banzhaf.
In the first, as reported on the Powerline website: “black protesters did exactly the same thing – placed tape over the portraits of black law professors – a year ago."
Then, just before this incident, the seal of Harvard Law School was covered up by an organization of black law students using exactly the same tape as that used in the most recent incident, as reported by the Harvard Crimson.
Perhaps that’s why Randall Kennedy, a black professor at Harvard Law, has now written in the New York Times that the act may simply have been "a rebuke to those who have recently been taping over the law school’s seal.”
Another theory which has been mentioned is that it was a hoax by one or more black students, similar to other campus situations noted below in which black or Jewish students had themselves posted symbols allegedly aimed at their own groups to create controversy, remarks Banzhaf.
For example, as reported in the Washington Times, recently a black student was arrested after allegedly posting a threat about shooting “every black person” at Saginaw Valley State University.
Also, according to the Independent, a black Kean University student was arrested for posting messages threatening to shoot black students.
Prof. Kennedy said in the New York Times of the incident: "Maybe it was meant to protest the perceived marginalization of black professors, or was a hoax meant to look like a racial insult in order to provoke a crisis."
Also, Elie Mystal, a black columnist writing in AboveTheLaw.com, lends support to this hoax theory, says Banzhaf. He wrote: "Other people think that it was done by a black student to protest black professors who aren’t using their positions to do enough to help black students at the school.”
If, in fact, the new taping was done by racist white students, the other law students should have been able to identify the most likely suspects, since it would have been difficult for them to completely suppress such strong racist feelings for months, claims Banzhaf.
Moreover, it appears - according to the RoyalAsses website - that only a very few would have no alibi, and may have been in Wasserstein Hall when the defacement occurred.
But if the identity of such racist law students has been discovered, Harvard may have a good reason for keeping the information secret, says Banzhaf.
If it sought to punish these white racist students, it would then have to explain why it took no similar action a year ago when black law students similarly defaced the pictures of black professors, argues Banzhaf.
Moreover, it would have to explain why it did nothing, according to the Harvard Law School Record, more recently when a black student organization openly defaced the seal of the Law School.
If, on the other hand, this newest taping was done by students simply retaliating for either or both of the earlier defacements, as Harvard’s own newspapers had reported, Harvard would be in an embarrassing position if it sought to punish them without punishing those responsible for the earlier incidents.
Finally, if the defacement now under investigation was the work of black students, Harvard would be in an even more embarrassing predicament, argues Banzhaf.
Having very strongly and publicly condemned this recent taping, it would be very difficult to now seek to excuse it solely because the perpetrators might turn out to be blacks rather than white racists, or simply because the administration might sympathize with their message, claims Banzhaf.