A Ku Klux Klan member reported at Indiana University’s Bloomington campus Monday turned out to be a Dominican friar wearing a white habit.
A student reported on Twitter that she saw “someone walking around in kkk gear with a whip” on campus. Residential hall advisor Ethan Gill wrote an email alerting students of the perceived threat and warned them to stay indoors, college news site The Tab first reported.
“There has been a person reported walking around campus in a KKK outfit holding a whip,” Mr. Gill wrote. “Because the person is protected under first amendment rights, IUPD cannot remove this person from campus unless an act of violence is committed. Please PLEASE PLEASE be careful out there tonight, always be with someone and if you have no dire reason to be out of the building, I would recommend staying indoors if you’re alone.”
Mr. Gill was forced to retract the warning on his Facebook page after learning the man was a clergyman in religious clothing — the “whip” being the robe-like belt that was tied around his waist, Breitbart Newsreported.
“This is what happens when there is miscommunication,” Mr. Gill wrote. “So what happened tonight goes like this: a person saw white robes and what looked to them like a weapon, got scared (rightfully so), warned people, warned staff, which in turn caused me to warn my residents because I need to look out for my residents, which in turn made it spread.
“Then my residents, terrified, come running to me, saying yeah the report must be true, they saw him and couldn’t believe there was a klansmember [sic] with a whip,” he explained. “And I see this picture. It’s a priest. With a rosary.”
Mr. Gill noted that Klan members have caused unrest on Indiana University’s campus in the past and that the students’ fears were not unwarranted.
There was no official safety alert released by the university, The Tab reported.