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OSU Student Arrested For Placing Racist Stickers On Cars

Benton County Sheriff's Office

An Oregon State University student was arrested Monday for slapping racist bumper stickers on the cars of social activists. The incident has upset many in the Corvallis community. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Andrew Oswalt was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief for an incident last June. Police say Oswalt and an accomplice put stickers on cars owned by members of a racial justice advocacy group. The stickers used a racist slur for African-Americans and covered up pro-diversity and immigrant stickers.

Credit Faith Reidenbach, SURJ
Police say Andrew Oswalt and an accomplice put stickers with a racist slur on the cars of people with Showing Up for Racial Justice last June, as they gathered at a Corvallis co-op. The offensive slur has been obscured.

The arrest coincided with Oswalt’s interview in the student newspaper, where he shared inflammatory views on minorities and women.  He has reportedly claimed that whites are repressed, are more intelligent than other races, and that Jews control many major institutions.

Credit City of Corvallis PD Facebook page.
City of Corvallis Police have shared stills from a surveillance video that shows Andrew Oswalt with a yet unidentified accomplice, approaching a local food co-op where the racist stickers appeared. Tips as to the other man's identity can be called in to Officer Luke Thomas at (541)766-6924.

Oswalt is a representative with the Associated Students of OSU. His peers may act to remove him by month’s end. Oswalt says if that happens, he’ll run again next year.

In an email to KLCC, Oswalt says that President Trump has empowered him and others who wish to speak truth to power, in “an era of state-enforced communist dogma.”

OSU officials say Oswalt’s comments aren’t the values of the university.

Meanwhile, neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer calls the incident “unfortunate”, suggesting Oswalt’s openness will make it harder for him to get a high-level position quote “within the system that we are trying to infiltrate and take over.”

It then advises readers to do alt-right activism on a different college campus from their own.

In an email to KLCC, Faith Reidenbach, a member of Corvallis Showing Up for Racial Justice, writes "I deplore Oswalt's sneaky, bigoted individual acts. But I hope my fellow white people will pay just as much attention to the institutionalized racism that's still prevalent throughout the mid-Valley and Oregon."

Reidenbach says Oswalt will be arraigned February 12th at the Benton County Courthouse.

"Let's pack the courtroom," she adds. 

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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