Someone is targeting and harassing black students at the University of Pennsylvania. According to USA Today College, several black students were added to a GroupMe thread called “Mud Men” on Friday morning. The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that a student at the University of Oklahoma was suspended in connection with the incident on Saturday.
The thread contained many racist comments and photos. Some were related to lynching, while some clearly referred to President-Elect Donald Trump—and the idea that his election makes this kind of behavior okay. Some students shared screenshots of the group message.
— Chidera (@chiderasiegbu) November 11, 2016
According to The Daily Pennsylvanian, University President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli released a statement Friday afternoon:
“We are absolutely appalled that earlier today Black freshman students at Penn were added to a racist GroupMe account that appears to be based in Oklahoma,” the letter read. “The account itself is totally repugnant: it contains violent, racist and thoroughly disgusting images and messages. This is simply deplorable. Our police and information security staff are trying to locate the exact source and to determine if any steps can be taken to block the account.
“This is absolutely vile material and completely offensive to everyone on our campus. We are both angry and saddened that it was directed to our students or to anyone. The people responsible for this are reprehensible. We have increased campus safety and are reaching out to support the affected students in every way we can, and want them to know that the entire Penn community stands with them.”
Students organized protests on campus, and professors emailed students to express their disgust with the group and to offer support.