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Investigation Suggests Racist Incidents At Simon’s Rock Staged

Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts says a series of alleged racist incidents on campus may have been staged.

In an email to the college community, Simon’s Rock administrators say that an independent investigator found that multiple instances of racist graffiti and a reported assault in September might have been a concerted effort to “provoke further conversation on campus about racism.” The Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office closed its investigation into the assault in November, citing a lack of evidence to support the victim’s claims. The college says the review consisted of interviews with 29 individuals and Great Barrington police, as well as a review of communications sent by Simon’s Rock employees and officials, the site of the alleged assault, and physical evidence of the graffiti. The email says the college is officially bringing its investigation of the incident to a close, and that it intends to further efforts to build “a more equitable, inclusive, and safe community.”

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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