Last week, the University of Pennsylvania campus was roiled after several African-American freshmen were targeted and put on a “n-gger lynching” list via popular social media app GroupMe. University officials have since found the culprit and suspended him — temporarily.
According to Philly.com, University of Pennsylvania officials said Saturday that a student from the University of Oklahoma had been suspended but suspected that other students could be involved in the heinous act.
Black freshman at Penn began receiving racist and threatening messages Friday via the popular texting app from an account based in Oklahoma, school officials said. The messages came from someone — or some people — using the alias “Daddy Trump.” The message “Heil Trump” was also sent out under the group name “Mud Men,” Philly.com reports.
Deplorable acts of racism and intimidation against minorities have occurred across the nation since Donald Trump was elected president of the United States last Tuesday. It’s suspected that the Penn incident is just an extension of the bigoted behavior exhibited by Trump supporters as of late.
Per the news site, Penn President Amy Gutmann said her counterpart at the University of Oklahoma, David Boren, notified her over the weekend of the temporary suspension of the student behind the racist attack. The student has not yet been named. Officials said campus police are expected to continue working with the FBI and University of Oklahoma police to investigate the incident and find any other students who may have been involved in sending the racist texts.
“The University of Oklahoma has made it clear that we will not tolerate racism or hate speech that constitutes a threat to our campus or others,” Boren said in a statement. “It would appear this matter did not originate at the University of Oklahoma, but started elsewhere.”
Attached is my statement regarding the UPenn incident which was reported earlier today. – DBo pic.twitter.com/2Ez1TQPfB4
— David Boren (@President_Boren) November 12, 2016
On Sunday, authorities announced that three Oklahoma residents — including the University of Oklahoma student — were behind the offensive messages sent to Penn’s Black students. A statement from the Pennsylvania university also confirmed that none of its students were involved in the racially insensitive act.
— Penn (@Penn) November 13, 2016
The first message in the app — which is popular among college students — was sent around 10 a.m. Friday and read, “Sup n-ggers.” The calendar feature in the app had also scheduled several “n-gger lynchings,” as subsequent messages named a total of 161 targeted Black students, Atlanta Black Star reports. One text even featured an image of a lynching with the caption “I Love America.”
“Literally, every single Black freshman was added,” Penn track star Calvary Rogers wrote on Facebook after reporting the racist messages to the university’s Vice Provost. “I stared an administrator in the eye and literally lost it. And quite honestly, I just can’t stop crying.”
“I feel sick to my stomach,” Rogers continued. “I don’t feel safe. [But] I refuse to let this become my reality.”
Philadelphia’s NBC 10 reports that a group of students gathered on the Penn campus Friday afternoon to support one other. Students then held a town hall discussion, followed by a march across campus denouncing white supremacy and hate speech.
— Jennifer Wilson (@JenLouiseWilson) November 12, 2016
Officials at the university ensured that students who received the racist texts were getting much needed support from school faculty, staff and fellow students.
According to NBC 10, a Change.org petition has been launched calling on president-elect Trump — who graduated from the Wharton School at Penn in 1968 — to respond to the incident. The document has since received over 7,000 signatures.
“We call on President-Elect and Wharton alumnus Donald Trump to break his disturbing silence on this issue, and to follow through on his declaration that the nation must come together by making a full-throated condemnation of these hate crimes and all hate speech,” the petition read.
“We will not accept this behavior,” it continued. “We will not be silent.”