THE AWFUL hoax perpetrated by a George Washington University sophomore has had more than one repercussion. Mariam Kashani, a young women who describes herself as an "independent rape counselor," told the campus newspaper, the GW Hatchet, that a white student had been raped by two black men on campus the night of Oct. 31. The paper attempted to investigate the charge and printed a front-page story repeating Miss Kashani's tale. Hers was not an impulsive lie but a carefully constructed story repeated over a number of days that was designed to agitate and enrage students. She fabricated elaborate details of the alleged crime and even had an accomplice call the newspaper pretending to be a D.C. police officer confirming her story.

As a result, the university and the student writers and editors have suffered embarrassment, the efforts of those working to combat campus rape have been set back and the racial peace of the community has been profoundly disturbed. Miss Kashani now has apologized.

In light of all the trouble she caused, however, it is surprising that one faculty member chose to begin a published piece on the case with these words: "Who are the victims of this cruel hoax on the GW Hatchet? There are many. The woman who fabricated the story. The student journalists ... " and so forth. How the culprit gets to be the prime victim is beyond us. We are far more concerned for the young black men who have been smeared and undermined by her lies. GW student Kyle Farmbry, whose views appeared on the opposite page yesterday, gave compelling testimony to the impact this racial stereotyping has had.

Other students confirm that the story caused them, for a while, to think of and behave differently toward all young black men on campus. We understand and sympathize with Mr. Farmbry's underlying fury but hope that his pessimism will prove to be unwarranted.

The Hatchet staff has now published a special edition full of explanation and apology. Miss Kashani will be charged with violations of the GW Code of Student Conduct and presumably will be disciplined. A committee of faculty, students and administrators will be named to study this incident and advise the university on how to prevent a recurrence. And GW president Stephen Trachtenberg has written a letter to the university community that underscores the importance of restoring racial harmony. "{O}ur black students, faculty, staff and neighbors," he writes, "have been given offense and reason to feel concerned and anxious. They were special victims of the hoax. They were stereotyped in a provocative, unfair and unjust way. They deserve an apology. And reassurance that this is their university. And that racism has no place on our campus."

He's right.