Students, administration respond to racially biased video on social media

The University of Miami is investigating after a Snapchat video, allegedly featuring a UM student using the n-word, circulated on social media over the weekend.

The videos show an alleged UM student making derogatory comments toward African Americans. The student makes racially explicit comments, using the N-word repeatedly and ranting about black Americans receiving punishments and getting “raped” by “plantation owners.”

Students received an email from Vice President of Student Affairs Patricia Whitely Monday, Oct. 8 addressing the videos. The message said the Dean of Students Office is investigating the incident, and that the responsible individuals will be held accountable.

“We do not tolerate bias of any kind at the University of Miami,” Whitely wrote.

The videos were originally posted on Snapchat, but screen recordings also circulated on Twitter. They were viewed more than 7,000 times as of Monday night.

Two videos show several posters hanging on the wall of what appears to be of a room in a UM freshman residential college. Explicit slurs are heard throughout both videos, and the second video shows the speaker’s face.

Senior Kristin Williams said seeing the video elicited strong emotions.

“I was in shock,” said Williams, a public health major. “I was angry that he would feel bold enough to do such a thing and then post it on social media.”

Freshman Christopher Battist said he was upset and surprised when his friend showed him the video on Twitter.

“The fact that another minority said those racial remarks with such comfort and pride really hurts,” said Battist, a broadcast journalism and political science double major. “As a student at a predominantly white institution, there’s usually a sense of unity amongst minorities, so these videos came by surprise both emotionally and socially.”

Several members of UM’s United Black Students organization called for the suspect’s expulsion.

“There needs to be serious action taking place, and not just sending out emails to say that it’s being investigated,” said UBS vice president Jori Opara. “If you honestly say as an institution that you don’t condone any type of racism, then don’t condone it.”

Students said the tweets were spread on multiple media platforms such as GroupMe, Instagram and Snapchat. The videos were also re-posted in multiple UM student group chats and personal messaging groups.

UM administrators have not confirmed the identity of the student in the videos. The Hurricane reached out to the student named in the tweet, but did not immediately receive a response.

Rebecca Goddard, Tommy Fletcher and Grace Wehniainen contributed to this report.