Wisconsin police have arrested a student at Beloit College who reportedly admitted to spray-painting his own dorm with racial and religious slurs in order to seek attention.
Michael Kee, 20, was arrested on charges of obstruction, disorderly conduct and criminal damage regarding the incident reported Monday, the City of Beloit Police Department said in a press release.
The college announced earlier this week that two reported hate crimes were under investigation: An anti-Semitic note placed under one student’s door and the words “Die,” “Sand n—r go home” and “#muslimban” spray painted on a Muslim student’s dorm room door, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. A swastika was also reportedly spray-painted on the wall across from the Muslim student’s room.
“Kee is a Beloit College student who reported that the wall next to and his dorm room door had been spray painted with a bias symbol and phrases related to his religion and ethnicity,” the press release stated. “Kee was interviewed and confessed that he had done the spray painting. Kee observed how the Beloit College community had come together after the first reported incident and wanted similar attention.”
“The false report by Kee may only serve to delegitimize other victims of these types of egregious offenses,” it added. “However, we believe it is important for our community to know that Kee’s incident does not diminish our resolve going forward with these reported incidents and any other reported crimes of this nature.”
The case has been referred to the Rock County district attorney’s office for possible charges, police said.
Mr. Kee maintained his innocence in a post on his Facebook page, claiming that he was not read his rights prior to his arrest and that made the confession under duress, The Gazette reported.
Police officials would not comment on Mr. Kee’s Facebook remarks, The Gazette reported.
It’s still not clear who is responsible for slipping the anti-Semitic note under the Jewish student’s door. Scott Bierman, president of the private liberal arts college, said in a statement Thursday that Mr. Kee’s actions should not distract from that case.
“This student and all those for whom anti-Semitism and misogyny are lived realities continue to feel its impact,” Mr. Bierman said. “[T]oday’s arrest changes nothing, including the need for us to recognize the dangers of Islamophobia in the U.S. and on this campus. … The safety and welfare of all those affected by these incidents, including the student at the center of this case, remain paramount. We are taking measures to ensure the safety of both the student and the community and will provide as much information as we can moving forward while respecting the needs and privacy of those involved.”