The Arizona Christian University Firestorm, University of South Carolina, Marquette University, and more have taken action
Warning: the following text contains accounts of racist and derogatory language
All across the world, Black Lives Matter demonstrators are taking to the streets in protest against police brutality and systemic racism, sparked by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Derek Chauvin last week. Now, universities have begun to reprimand and expel students for racist posts in response to the ongoing protests on social media.
Earlier this week, the Arizona Christian University Firestorm withdrew an admission from a prospective white student, who posted a selfie on Instagram with the caption: “Honestly, everyone needs to just STFU about the guy who died. Follow the damn law and there wouldn’t be issues. If you don’t agree with me I don’t give a fuck bc whatever you say won’t change my mind. He wasn’t innocent, he was doing something illegal. My favourite cop will always be Brandenburg end of story. Also Trump 2020. Might as well piss everyone off.”
The post was shared to the institution by an anonymous Instagram user, and shortly after, the university released a statement that read: “Yesterday afternoon we became aware that a prospective student posted public comments that are offensive, hurtful, and violate the standards of our community. After an internal investigation confirmed these facts, this prospective student’s scholarship offer and offer of admission were immediately rescinded.”
Similarly, a user on Twitter shared a video of two white students at Missouri University making fun of Floyd’s death in a Snapchat video, captioned “Aw (name) can’t breathe”. In it, one girl is kneeling over another, who shouts that she cannot breathe, before both bursting into laughter. The University of Missouri replied to the tweet, saying: “Thank you for letting us know. We are aware of the video and have submitted the details to the appropriate offices.”
A student at the University of South Carolina was expelled earlier this week for calling Black people “thugs” and “gorillas” on social media and saying they need to go to jail. The post was brought to attention via an anonymous complaint form on the institution’s website.
The College of Charleston also rescinded the admission of a previously accepted student after school officials were made aware of a racist social media post circulating online, which has not been disclosed. The college said in a statement: “The College holds close our institution’s values related to respect, diversity, equity, and inclusion. We condemn racism and bigotry in any form and will not tolerate such behavior by any member of our community.”
Temple University, in Philadelphia, responded to a Twitter post that brought attention to a video posted by a media studies student, where he makes fun of Floyd’s name, before starting an angry tirade against those protesting his death.
“This grass, this grass fucking didn’t stand up for George Foreman, Floyd, Foreman, George Foreman Floyd Grill Foreman Phil,” he said in the video. “Fuck that grass! Nah, fuck you grass, you didn’t stand up for shit. You didn’t go march, fuck that! …Rock on, keep on fucking rioting, because that will fucking solve the problem.”
Thank you for reporting this to us. Racist behavior, such as this, is disgusting and never acceptable. We've reported this student to the appropriate administrators and they are taking action.— Temple University (@TempleUniv) June 1, 2020
The university thanked the person who originally flagged the video on Twitter, saying: “Racist behaviour, such as this, is disgusting and never acceptable. We’ve reported this student to the appropriate administrators, and they are taking action.”
Marquette University in Wisconsin has also withdrawn an admission offer to a student after they posted a Snapchat with racist comments about Floyd’s death. As shown in screenshots circulating on Twitter, the post compared Floyd’s death to kneeling during the national anthem. “Some (sic) ppl think it’s ok to fucking kneel during the national anthem so it’s ok to kneel on someone's head. come at me. y’all brainwashed.”
The university responded with a statement, saying: “Following an internal review involving the division of student affairs, undergraduate admissions, Marquette University has made the decision to rescind the incoming student’s offer of admission and athletics scholarship, effective immediately.”
Thank you for letting us know. We are aware of the video and have submitted the details to the appropriate offices.— Mizzou (@Mizzou) May 29, 2020
At Weber State University in Utah, a criminal justice professor (let that sink in for a moment), Dr. Scott Senjo, was put on leave for offensive tweets about the protests. Commenting on a video showing New York police vehicles plowing into a crowd of protesters, Senjo tweeted: “That’s not how I would have driven into the crowd.”
Senjo also responded to a tweet by a reporter who said they were injured by police while covering a protest in New York. “Excellent. If I was the cop, you wouldn’t be able to tweet,” he said. He has since deleted his account.
In a statement, Weber State called Senjo’s comments “hurtful and inconsistent with the values” of the university and “our work to create an inclusive and welcoming environment”. Senjo was put on paid leave until the situation was reviewed, but later resigned because “the public fury is too great”, according to an internal email.