Western Carolina University Condemns Videos Featuring Students Using Racial Slurs, Symbols

"This behavior disappoints, angers, frustrates me to no end," the school's Chancellor Kelli Brown said

Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.
Photo: Alamy

The chancellor of Western Carolina University is speaking out after students at the North Carolina school shared videos featuring racial slurs and symbols to their social media pages.

In one video that circulated over the weekend, two white male students use the “okay” hand signal that is often associated with white supremacist groups, CNN reported. Throughout the clip, they claim to not be racist, but use the hand signal and racial slurs several times.

In another, two white white women say, "If I am a cracker, you're allowed to be called the [N-word] ... with the A ... not the ER."

On Sunday, Chancellor Kelli Brown issued a video statement condemning the videos.

"These last 24 hours have been a roller coaster of emotions for me and many others on this campus,” she began in the video. “Over the weekend there have been several videos of students, Western Carolina University students that are displaying behavior that is racist and bigoted. This behavior disappoints, angers, frustrates me to no end."

Brown also shared that she spoke with student leaders at Western Carolina University, who expressed “their fear, anxiety and pain” and requested that the school take action.

Officials at the school “are taking active steps” to address the students’ behavior, she said.

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“It is difficult to express the level of disappointment and disgust that I feel, but I know that my feelings pale in comparison to the anguish that our faculty, staff, students, and alumni of color are feeling when they are confronted with these words and images,” Brown added in the video caption on Facebook. “No one on our campus should feel that the environment is hostile or interferes with their ability to pursue their educational or work activities based on discrimination.”

“Justifiable calls for action can be heard from across our campus community today. Rest assured, the University is taking active steps to address these particular incidents consistent with our University processes and policies; however, we cannot disclose specific actions taken against a specific student(s),” the caption continued. “With that in mind, our inability to communicate specific actions should not be construed as inaction. Western Carolina University takes seriously the effect that these videos have had on the campus community and will act accordingly.”

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