Not content with simply observing Hit a Jew Day
, Truman State University sophomore Rachel Oetting Tweeted last Monday,
Within a few hours, Oetting had achieved Internet celebrity, of sorts, when her Tweet found its way onto the websites of various hate groups. A fellow student known by the Twitter handle "SupahJew" notified both Truman State's president and Wal-Mart where Oetting works as a cashier. According to an article
in the campus newspaper, the Index
, Truman State's administration has not yet decided whether Oetting should be punished.
"What is reportedly said in this situation is deplorable," Lou Ann Gilchrist, Truman State's dean of student affairs told the Index
"It's not consistent with University values. It is not what we try to
teach. It is not what we would support or condone in any way. But as an
educational institution, we have some obligations to support critical
thought and free dialogue of the critical thought. So the line that's
very difficult to draw is, operationally, how do we define it."
Although Twitter has no regulations against hate speech, only against direct threats, Oetting deleted her account the day after she sent the offensive Tweet. On Sunday she released an apologetic statement:
"I made a bad decision. I intended my Tweet to be funny, and looking
back there is nothing funny about what I said. It was a very
inappropriate joke. I apologize to anyone who has felt threatened or
hurt by my actions. This situation has been a huge life lesson for me.
I hope others can look at my actions and not make the same mistake I
Members of Hillel, a Jewish student organization, said they were disturbed by Oetting's Tweet, but didn't actually feel threatened. Adviser Daniel Mandell told the Index:
What bothered me most, besides simply wondering about a person who
would put this out there in a format that would be picked up and become
permanent, was that someone would say something like that considering
what happened at Virginia Tech a couple years ago. It's not
just joking about killing Jews. It's about killing students at the
A staff editorial in the Index
defended Oetting's First Amendment right to free speech but said the rest of the student body should not be judged by her dubious sense of humor.
And so this week at Truman State, everybody learned a couple of Important Lessons: that you have the right to say whatever the hell you want on Twitter, and as long as you don't actually go out and kill anybody, it's all good. Just don't judge us, m'kay?
As Oetting's correspondent, Jordan (aka OHguy7) Tweeted the day after the original "joke":
Guess it takes an anti-Semite to handle a joke with grace and style.