IUP Student Goes Viral for Racial Tirade

Photo Courtesy/ Wikipedia Commons

Stephanie LeMons

News Editor

Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) made the news earlier this month when a Sept. 6 video of an IUP student going on a racist rant went viral.

In the video, a student recorded himself on Snapchat letting out a slew of racial slurs and threats of violence while in the car with three other men. As the main student of the video casually yelled slur after slur, the other passengers laughed.

Students at ESU—a sister school of IUP’s in the state-owned university system—acquainted with the incidents have reacted strongly.

“It’s obviously messed up and racist but there’s really not much that anyone can do,” ESU junior Matthew Napoleon said. “I’ve seen a whole lot worse; I’ve been almost shot by a cop before.”

As of today, the student in the IUP video has yet to be publicly named, but KDKA, a local news site, was able to get a statement from the student via email:

“I was not in my right mind,” he reportedly stated in the email. “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 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.”

This is not the first time IUP has made headlines concerning racist incidents on campus.

In 2017, screenshots of another IUP student’s Snapchat depicted a burnt grilled cheese with the caption, “How do you like your grilled cheese? The same as my slaves.”

Two years before, an IUP a student reportedly posted a Snapchat of a group of black students with the caption, “Monkeys stay in groups.”

Earlier this month, IUP held an open discussion about race, where people were able to attend and explain how videos such as this impact them and their experiences on campus.

ESU Junior Alyvia Harris, who said she used to live in the western Pennsylvania area near IUP, said, “IUP is a diverse campus, and that leaves a group of students to feel threatened on their own campus – and that’s not okay.”

There is currently a Change.org petition created by IUP student Rachael Henderson to have the student expelled, and has almost reached its goal of 1,500 signatures.

“My friends said it didn’t matter if they spoke up to school officials because nothing ever gets done with crimes like these except an email being sent out with apologies,” Henderson wrote in her statement on the post. “Disciplinary action for hate speech through social media and other platforms should be severe.”

It is unknown if the IUP student will face academic consequences for his actions, but under university law, his identity is protected.

Because there are no criminal charges associated with his actions, his name does not appear in police or court records.

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