The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was rocked Sunday by allegations that someone wrote a vile, hateful message on a Native American student's door. Since then, however, members of the UW-Eau Claire community have raised serious questions about the incident, questioning whether it might in fact be a hoax.
According to the UW-Madison student newspaper The Daily Cardinal, UW-Eau Claire junior Kayde Langer reported that someone wrote "Go back to the rez [reservation] red n***er" on her door. She tweeted a photo of the message with the caption "Welcome to the a [sic] University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire."
"It was just very out there, even for Eau Claire," she told the Daily Cardinal. "UW-Eau Claire is a very white campus, but I still didn't expect them to go this far. It's still very disheartening to even think about that."
Langer identifies as a member of the Ojibwe tribe and said that this was not the first time she had been the victim of hateful attacks on campus.
"In the past, I've had other incidents, and administration a lot of the time ignores us," she noted. "I've been ignored multiple times, and there's no consequences to being racist."
She wrote about one one of those alleged incidents in April on the UW-Eau Claire "free speech publication" The Flipside.
"There is a student that walks around campus that believes whites are the superior race and there are probably many more that have the same ideology," she wrote in a post titled "Truth Be Told." "The difference is, one of them had the audacity to tell me that whites are superior to my face. Not only did they have the courage to say that, tell went even further by saying I don’t belong here because I’m not white. That is wrong on so many levels. If you don’t see the problem with that, then you are also the problem.
"I wish people didn’t see me as the color of my skin," she continued. "I can’t make sudden movements, or I scare the white girls in the room, as if I’m the dangerous one. Do you remember what happened with Emmett Till? Their eyes follow my braids down my shoulders, and they look at me like I’m some foreign object they haven’t seen before. Sometimes they smile at me uncomfortable, but that is just because they are polite. If you only knew that some of your parents were calling us red n*ggers."
Her use of the phrase "red n***ers"--the same phrase that appeared on her door five months later--has raised suspicion. It is a very specific and very uncommon slur, and a search for it on Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram reveal few actual instances of people using it. That Langer would use it in April and then see it written on her door in September is a startling coincidence.
While it could very well have been written by the student who allegedly told her that she doesn't belong on campus because she isn't white, the fact that it is such rarely-used phrase and appeared twice in her writing and on her door within six months lends credence to the belief among members of the UW-Eau Claire community that Langer may have written it herself.
"I have dealt with racists in my time, and heard a lot of epithets, but that one was new to me," said one source. "Specific and offensive of course. And it turns out that she used it herself? That's just suspicious."
Other members of the UW-Eau Claire community pointed to other writings on The Flipside that revealed Langer's apparently deep-seated resentment of white male treatment of Native Americans.
"Every Halloween I see at least one girl dressed up as a ‘sexy Indian girl’ or squaw. This is a friendly reminder that you don’t have to dress up like the people that your ancestors could have raped and murdered," she wrote in a post entitled "The Sexy Indian Costume." "What I don’t understand though, if this was consensual sex (as history claims), how would Native American women communicate they wanted to f***, if they didn’t speak the same language. More likely than not, the white men would rape these women (which still hasn’t changed today) and when their wives would find out, they’d blame it on the women."
Moreover, just hours before allegedly finding a racist note on her door, Langer tweeted out a plea for her followers to send her money via PayPal to fund her 21st birthday party the following evening.
"My birthday is tomorrow and I'm a broke college student so if any of y'all are feeling generous please feel free to send a little something," she wrote, adding a link to her PayPal account.
Members of the UW-Eau Claire community have raised questions about the timing of this, asking whether sympathy Langer garnered from the note allegedly written on her door might prompt people to give to her birthday fund.
Still other members of the UW-Eau Claire community have questioned the note itself, which appears to have been written by someone the hand with which they do not usually write. Naturally, the suspect could have used his off hand, but writing such a lengthy note with an off hand takes time, and a suspect hastily scribbling on someone else's door would have likely wanted to do so as quickly as possible and thus would have been more likely to use his dominant hand.
After questions about her story arose, Langer made protected her Twitter account. She has not yet responded to requests for comment.
UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Jim Schmidt has promised a thorough investigation of the incident and added that "the racist who wrote this despicable comment is not welcome on this campus."
The Dan O'Donnell Show covered this story thoroughly on Friday. Click on the player below and be sure to subscribe to the show on iHeartRadio!