Georgia Southern releases statement regarding student's use of racial slur gone viral

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Georgia Southern University released an official statement Friday regarding the use of a racial slur by a student exhibited in a screenshot shared on social media.

Georgia Southern University released a statement on Friday regarding the use of a racial slur by a student exhibited in a screenshot shared on social media.

"The use of such racist comments is offensive and unacceptable and in no way reflects the attitudes or values of Georgia Southern University," GS President Shelley Nickel said in an excerpt of the university's official statement. "To be clear, there is no place for bigotry or racism on our campuses."

Posts on Facebook and Twitter gained attention by displaying screenshots of what appear to be messages between a GS student and their future roommate. After the two exchanged messages, the sender, as shown in screenshots on social media, appears to accidentally send a message not meant for the receiver.

The receiver of the messages requested for both students involved to not be named in this article.

“Her insta looks pretty normal not too n***erish,” the sender said in screenshots displayed on social media.

The message, according to posts on social media, used the actual N-word and The George-Anne has chosen not to publish the slur in its original form.

The sender sent a follow-up message apologizing and said the message was meant for someone else, adding that the use of the N-word was a typo on her phone.

"I meant to say triggerish meaning like you seemed really cool nothing that triggered a red flag!" the sender said in screenshots displayed on social media. "I'm so embarrassed I apologize."

Students outraged

Daijah Morrison, senior interior design major, said she was first made aware of the text messages via a private group on Twitter.

“I immediately thought to use my platform to spread the word,” Morrison said. “I felt hurt, due to all the recent racial stirrups happening around this country. I started getting heated so I kept talking about it. My little two cents, I felt like, helped.”

Morrison eventually posted the text message exchange on Facebook, which soon went viral. Before the post was deleted, it reached over 500 shares and garnered hundreds of comments from GS students and others.

“I consider myself a little freedom fighter, in a funny way," Morrison said. "I had to help it spread like wildfire.I just felt one step closer to the goal: raising awareness, spreading positivity over the hate and using my [small] virtual platform to make a change for the better.”

Morrison said she wants to see more reassurance about these types of issues from the GS administration.

“I believe the black community needs reassurance that there's zero tolerance for hate speech, racism and prejudice," Morrison said. "There's been a history of these situations here at the university, so it would be lovely to hear that our administration is accepting and tolerant to all.”

Leon Bowles, senior mechanical engineering major, shared similar thoughts with Morrison and other social media users.

“I think I speak for the entire African-American population of Georgia Southern when I say that while I am not surprised, I am angry and disappointed," Bowles said. "The text itself was cause enough for outrage, but the pathetic attempt at an excuse and apology, was a flippant insult to her intelligence.”

University response

Although an official university statement was released, it is currently unknown if the sender will receive disciplinary actions from GS.

"The University is unable to comment on student records due to FERPA regulations," Dean of Students Patrice Jackson said in an email. "The statement from the president clearly affirms the University’s position."

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.

Jackson said any person may report a complaint of bias through the Office of Diversity and Faculty Development.

Students who live off campus must talk to their apartment complex's management about changing roommates. Students who live on campus may contact University Housing at 912-478-5406 if they have roommate concerns.

Any student athlete who is concerned about their housing arrangements should talk to the GS Athletics Department.

The complete statement by GS can be viewed below. 

Matthew Enfinger, The George-Anne Editor-in-Chief, gaeditor@georgiasouthern.edu

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