A Snapchat message posted by a student from SUNY Plattsburgh that referenced lynching African Americans has led to a protest march and a campus forum in which members of the Black Student Union and Student Association called for the resignation of top campus officials.
The college’s independent newspaper, Cardinal Points, reported that a freshman named Maria Gates originally shared the message with a small group of people, but it quickly spread. According to NCPR, Gates took a selfie with another person which she captioned, “Lynching n****rs tonight.”
Students were outraged that no disciplinary action has been taken against the student and previous racist incidents have also gone unpunished.
Many on campus feel the environment is not safe.
Friday, students marched in protest, closing several downtown streets and ending up at the home of the school’s president, who eventually came out and engaged with the marchers. Many students carried “Black Lives Matter” signs during the march.
A Forum was held over the weekend, in which 600 members of the campus community attended.
According to Cardinal Points:
The PSUC Student Association and PSUC Black Student Union Black Onyx formally called for resignations from President John Ettling, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Morgan, Director of Student Conduct Larry Allen and Chief of Diversity Officer J.W. Wiley.
In response, school officials set up a meeting with SUNY representatives today to discuss the handling of the case. There are plans to revise the student code of conduct and the college is planning on establishing something they call a “bias response team.”
According to NCPR:
Campus officials say they can’t comment on disciplinary action against students. The student who sent the offensive message is still enrolled in the college but not on campus, said Bryan Hartman, SUNY Plattsburgh’s vice president of student affairs.
Another disgusting racist incident on the @SUNYPlattsburgh Campus!! We need to make sure justice is served this time and get Maria Gates kicked out of SUNY Plattsburgh !! #blacklivesmatter #fightagainstracism #sunyplattsburgh ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻 pic.twitter.com/bY5GX5Wfxt
— Russia (@RussiaBoles) February 16, 2018
At my school, Suny Plattsburgh, you can be expelled for plagiarism but not a hate crime that is very threatning. @SUNYPlattsburgh
— QUEEN B (@BreyanaGA) February 15, 2018
there are so many disheartening problems at suny plattsburgh 😞
— dominique zummo (@domzummo) February 19, 2018
— Liz Strzepa (@LizMyNBC5) February 16, 2018
Last night the school held a forum under extremely short noticed and the room was completely packed. Stories were shared and tears were shed, but there’s been no justice #sunyplattsburgh pic.twitter.com/sFZqT2cjYz
— Kristina (@KristinaLollo) February 16, 2018
— SUNY Plattsburgh ABJ (@plattsburghabj) February 16, 2018
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