Several Black freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania were named in a “daily lynching” calendar on a messaging app account, reports the Washington Post.
A university spokesman said on Friday the GroupMe account included “violent, racist and thoroughly repugnant images.”
The Daily Pennsylvanian reported that school officials emailed undergraduates after 12 a.m. Saturday to notify them that a University of Oklahoma student was temporarily suspended for suspected involvement.
According to the campus newspaper, Penn Police and the FBI coordinated with the University of Oklahoma in the investigation. The email said the probe is ongoing and other individuals could be involved.
A UPenn freshman expressed to the Pennsylvanian the anxiety of finding their name in the message:
“Once I saw the racial slurs…my heart dropped. I was shocked that I was even added to the GroupMe in the first place, but seeing what was being said just hurt.”
At a protest on Friday, an African-American sophomore spoke to the campus paper about dealing with an environment in which Black students are questioned about their qualification to attend the Ivy League school:
“People ask me every day am I a student here. I have a f***ing 3.2 GPA, I am about to get my Master’s and people ask me every day, do you belong here, explain yourself. So, for freshmen, who are made to feel like they don’t belong here, freshmen who don’t have GPAs yet, freshmen who haven’t even taken finals yet, they just got through their midterms which is hell. They’ll wake up and see that somebody has set a date for them to be lynched, it’s unacceptable and if the entire students body is not upset, shocked and outraged about it, I have nothing else to say.”
UPenn administrators released a statement Friday night saying they are“absolutely appalled” by the GroupMe message. They’ve increased campus security and stand united in support of their Black students.