A white student at Columbia University harassed a group of predominantly Black students over the weekend, and now others are demanding he be punished for the “racially charged incident” at the New York City Ivy League school.
The student seen on video shouting white supremacist comments toward the group was identified by the Columbia Spectator as 21-year-old sophomore Julian von Abele. Witnesses said he targeted his fellow students who were standing outside Butler Library on Sunday, Dec. 9, and began berating them with racist language.
“White people are the best thing that happened to the world” and “We built modern civilization,” the sophomore yelled according to students who witnessed the incident. He went onto to say that white people “built modern civilization” and “did everything.”
Von Abele then followed the group to a campus restaurant and allegedly grabbed one of the students during the encounter and asked the person if Black women like to date white men. He then told the group, “I don’t hate other people, I just love white men.”
“I really hope that Columbia takes further action,” Columbia student Kwolanne Felix told the news outlet. “They should definitely try to talk to the students that were affected by that and ensure everyone’s OK, because that’s really hard to internalize.”
The University condemned the racist incident in a statement sent to students Sunday evening. Officials called for a gathering to be held on Monday, Dec. 10, to openly reflect on the matter.
University Senator Alfredo Dominguez reportedly emailed campus officials and called for disciplinary actions to be taken against von Abele.
“You can have arguments all you want about free speech and people being entitled to say what they want,” Dominguez told the news source. “But when that bubbles [into] assaulting Black or Brown people with that and then stalking them … you’re getting into levels of hate crime and your speech being directly related to violence.”
The Dean of Multicultural Affairs Melinda Aquino said she and other university officials are working to address the “racially charged incident” and have yet to say if the culprit would be reprimanded.
A video of von Abele harassing the students of color has gone viral and been viewed over 1 million times as of Monday.