An Indiana University of Pennsylvania student’s reported social media post, deemed “racist” in statements from IUP officials, has fired up a controversy that includes a fellow student’s change.org petition to have him expelled.
“We became aware of a racist social media post made by a member of the IUP community,” IUP Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Thomas C. Segar said in a statement Friday. “We have been in contact with the individual who created the post, and we are taking appropriate action.”
The university did not detail what that action might entail.
“We don’t discuss any individual judicial processes,” IUP Executive Director of Media Relations Michelle Fryling said this morning.
“This has been said before, but it bears repeating because it is central to the foundation of IUP,” Segar said in a joint statement Sunday with IUP’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Elise Glenn. “Hate has no place in our community, and we do not condone incidents of discrimination or racist messages.”
The university did not identify the student, who reportedly has expressed regret for his post in an email exchange with a Pittsburgh television station.
“I was not in my right mind,” he said in an email broadcast by KDKA-2. “That is not how I feel at all towards other races. I love everyone and hope people can understand that wasn’t the real me in the that video. I was extremely intoxicated and possibly roofied. I know it’s no excuse, but that’s the only justifiable reason I have for saying what I did.”
According to the Urban Dictionary, “roofied” is what happens “when someone spikes your drink with a drug without your knowledge. Effects include vomiting, loss of co-ordination and cognitive abilities, as well as coma.”
The student could not be reached by The Indiana Gazette for comment.
However, several have posted on social media that they want to see that student expelled.
“He also threatened bodily harm and used a variety of racial slurs,” said Rachael Henderson, a fellow student in the Criminology & Criminal Justice department, in her change.org petition. “The Indiana University of Pennsylvania has a long-running history of incidents that involve hate speech and racism. Removing students that circulate hate and violence would make the campus a safer, more positive place for minorities.”
The university also has invited students and employees to “A Community Response to Hate at IUP” at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Elkin Hall Great Room.
“We need all constructive voices working together to make IUP a place where we actively continue to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Segar and Glenn said in their joint statement.
Fryling said the event is closed to the media.
“It’s focused on our students and employees,” she said.