The University of North Dakota is investigating two racially charged photos that were reportedly taken by students and posted online in a 48-hour period.
The president of the university, Mark Kennedy, said in a statement that he’s appalled at the messages posted to social media.
In one incident, three white students posted a photo to snapchat with the phrase “locked that black b**** out.”
Etonde Maloke, a student at the university, shared what happened on her Facebook page. Maloke said her friend left her phone in a room and three students, pictured in the photo laughing and throwing up peace signs, took her friend’s phone and posted the picture, with the offensive caption, to her Snapchat without permission.
“I'm so livid!! We all know Racism is alive and well (whether you like to admit it not). When said acts of racism happen at your school, it is infuriating and heart breaking,” Maloke wrote. “My friend was not aware that they had done this and didn't even realize they had put this on her snapchat story until another friend of ours pointed it out. The University of North Dakota needs to take action against these students for this blatant act of racism.”
Less than 12 hours after Maloke published her post, another Snapchat image surfaced, apparently screengrabbed, of four white students donning black, facial masks with the caption, “Black lives matter.”
The campus police and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities are investigating both incidents. The university said they will work to explore the best practices for diversity education at the school.
“I have been disappointed to learn that we have people in our university community who don’t know that the kind of behavior and messaging demonstrated in these two photos is not ok, and that, in fact, it is inexcusable,” Kennedy said. “We value diversity and inclusion and take seriously respect for others as well as the exchange of different thoughts and ideas.”
Just earlier this month Kansas State University student, Paige Shoemaker, came under fire for posting a similar image on snapchat of herself with a black face mask and the caption "It feels good to finally be a n****.
Shoemaker later apologized for the photo in a Facebook post, saying, "We clearly understand that what was said and done was completely disrespectful. We will battle everyone for the right to make things right, because we know what we did was wrong."