Racist so­cial me­dia posts up­set David­son Col­lege cam­pus

The Charlotte Observer - - Front Page - BY JANE WESTER


David­son Col­lege is in­ves­ti­gat­ing so­cial me­dia posts, a day af­ter an ac­tivist group says it con­nected a Twit­ter ac­count that posted racist and anti-Semitic state­ments to a stu­dent.

In a Thurs­day morn­ing email to the cam­pus, Pres­i­dent Carol Quillen said racism, big­otry and an­tiSemitism are “an­ti­thet­i­cal to ev­ery­thing David­son stands for.”

She said in a later email that po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing and that “the two stu­dents named on so­cial me­dia are not on cam­pus.”

“Ru­mors have been cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial me­dia about firearms, ex­ter­nal demon­stra­tions and other threats to cam­pus,” she wrote, adding that there were no cred­i­ble threats to cam­pus.

Fed­eral law lim­its the amount of de­tail the school can pro­vide, Quillen wrote. She did not name the stu­dents.

“What I can tell you is that your safety is our pri­mary con­cern,” she wrote.

Screen­shots taken by the ac­tivist group in­cluded posts that praised Adolf Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan. The Twit­ter ac­count, which did not in­clude a full name, has been deleted.

The ac­tivist group con­nected the ac­count to Face­book and In­sta­gram ac­counts of a David­son stu­dent by com­par­ing pho­tos and some per­sonal de­tails. The Ob­server has not ver­i­fied that the stu­dent cre­ated the Twit­ter ac­count.

Two stu­dents were re­moved from David­son’s Club Sail­ing team in con­nec­tion with the so­cial me­dia posts, team pres­i­dent Alex Size­more said Thurs­day. He told the Ob­server that the stu­dents joined the team at the be­gin­ning of the se­mes­ter, and the team im­me­di­ately barred them from par­tic­i­pa­tion when it learned about the Twit­ter posts.

“Their hate does not be­long on our team,” Size­more said.

David­son Col­lege spokesman Mark John­son did not re­spond to calls, emails or a text mes­sage re­quest­ing com­ment Thurs­day.

The col­lege re­leased two state­ments about the is­sue Wed­nes­day via Twit­ter. The first one, around 9:15 p.m., said the col­lege con­demned big­otry and racism. In that state­ment, of­fi­cials promised the col­lege “is on it” af­ter hear­ing about con­cern­ing in­for­ma­tion.

A sec­ond tweet from the col­lege, around 11:50 p.m., said that the David­son com­mu­nity was safe and there were no threats to cam­pus. “The sit­u­a­tion is be­ing ad­dressed,” that tweet said, with­out pro­vid­ing de­tail.

Stu­dent lead­ers, in­clud­ing the Stu­dent Govern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent and vice pres­i­dent, sent an email to stu­dents Thurs­day af­ter­noon con­demn­ing hate and en­cour­ag­ing re­spect.

“We are all bet­ter than this and we have all seen the strength that comes from what makes us dif­fer­ent,” the email states. “May we never set­tle for any­thing less, and may we never be com­plicit in com­pla­cency.”

Cristina Shaul, a spokes­woman from the town’s po­lice depart­ment, said they were help­ing David­son’s cam­pus po­lice and did not an­swer fur­ther ques­tions.

Jane Wester: 704-358-5128; @janewester

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