University of Oklahoma officials and the FBI maintain that the death of Joel Henry Hinrichs III was a individual suicide, and not a failed terrorist attack. Norman police are now admitting they knew Hinrichs had tried to buy ammonium nitrate some days before he blew himself up, but that seems to be the only chink in their armor. The OU paper, The Oklahoma Daily, didn’t mention a word today.
The Oklahoman’s story from Hinrichs’ father, and the father’s apology and portrayal of his wayward son, is essentially another denial that Hinrichs had any connection to Muslims. The father even apologized to Muslim students for the inevitable association. Mark Tapscott, who has been following the story very closely, remarks today that OU seems to have a penchant for defending Muslims, but a passion for taking away Constitutional rights from non-Muslims students. Hate crimes apparently cannot be committed by any but non-Muslims students.
Tapscott cites a 2002 Oklahoma Daily piece about two students who were accused of hate crimes by Pakistani student Mohammad Yaseen Haider (who was jailed November 8, 2002, two months after the 9-11 attacks). One of the students, wrestler Chance Shipman, to be readmitted (after having been expelled for the accusation), had to sign a contract in which he surrendered all rights:
• Never apply for admission or attend any campus operated by the OU Board of Regents
• Waive his right to a hearing before the Campus Disciplinary Council
• Waive his right to “confront his accuser”
• Release OU forever from any claims or losses (lawsuits)
Tapscott calls this “the full might of academic tyranny with the power of permanently marring a student’s record.”
Well, never mind. At least OU’s student paper reports on vitally important history. OU coeds in 1950 were considered the prettiest in the country, except for their long dresses. And an editor of the great Oklahoman just got a national award for his stories on Oklahomans in Iraq. Last I heard, the only award The Oklahoman got was recognition as the “worst newspaper in America” in Columbia Journalism Review (1999) Perhaps things are improving.