Hate crimes continue to burden campus

On the heels of recovery from previous incidents earlier in the semester, another hate crime incident recently took place on Hamline’s campus.

Anika Besst, News Editor

*Content warning: this article includes discussion of racially motivated hate crimes near the hamline campus.* 


A race based hate crime in the form of intimidation occurred on Hewitt Avenue near the Bishop statue on Sunday, October 24. 

Students and staff advisors of the Hamline community experienced this incident as they prepared for a day retreat. Hewitt Avenue is a public street that runs east to west dividing the north and south quadrants of campus. 

“They were accosted by an individual claiming to be an immigration officer and told them he was in possession of a gun. At no time did the individual show a weapon, however they did exit their vehicle to confront the group,” an email sent to the Hamline community at 10:57 a.m. the same day, wrote. 

The university sent out this email as part of the commitment consistent with federal law related to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act which requires an institution to inform members of crime on or near campus. 

Members involved in the situation used bystander intervention techniques that helped in coordination with law enforcement. The person responsible has been arrested and is pending charges from this and other incidents. 

“We are always on the lookout for anything that indicates people with these repulsive ideas are on or around campus,” Melinda Heikkinen, director of Hamline Public Safety, wrote in an email to the Oracle. “It was a hate crime that happened to a member of the Hamline family. Hamline Public Safety finds these kinds of incidents absolutely abhorrent and are committed to doing everything we can to make sure the perpetrators are brought to justice and bring about a culture where they don’t happen at all. I understand that the last part is a long way from happening, but we are committed to be part of the solution.”  

Heikkinen works closely in coordination with the St. Paul Police Department as well as communicating with colleagues at other institutions to stay updated on what is happening around to help monitor the situation occurring at Hamline. 

“We do have a safe campus and campus safety is all of our responsibility.  We need to report concerns in a timely manner so that we can utilize all of the resources we have to fully investigate,” Dean of Students Patti Kersten wrote in an email. 

This incident comes only weeks after Hamline experienced hate speech incidents in a dorm building and a classroom. 

Heikkinen and Kersten both recognize the thoughtful response by those involved in the October 24 incident. 

“The Hamline community members who experienced this incident were amazing. They responded in multiple ways that are right in line with our StepUp trainings,” Kersten wrote in an email. “They were direct in addressing the situation, they called public safety for assistance from officers and police, they recorded the incident to provide evidence, they also did things to distract the person and finally when they heard about the possibility of a weapon, they left to ensure they were all safe. And most important, students stepped in to support someone and in their actions said ‘not here,’ we won’t allow this hate here.” 


For any support or help related to hate crime incidents, please utilize these resources: 


Dean of Students: call 651-523-2421 or email an-studentaffairs@hamline.edu

Public Safety: call 651-523-2100 or email security@hamline.edu

StepUp: visit https://tinyurl.com/br2hfmxz 

Hedgeman Center: call 651-523-2423 or email  hedgemancenter@hamline.edu


For previous hate speech incident coverage visit: https://tinyurl.com/e9keu5b3