Alleged ‘Zoom-Bombing’ Hate Speech Affects Spring Involvement Fair

An incident of hate speech allegedly occurred through a “Zoom-bombing” at Penn State’s virtual spring Student Involvement Fair Wednesday, according to an email sent to student organizations and leaders.

Penn State understandably did not specify exactly what the “highly offensive hate speech” entailed. It also did not disclose which student organization was affected by the “inappropriate Zoom incident.”

“We strongly condemn these actions and always seek to provide safe and inclusive spaces for our students,” said Dawn Savage, the program coordinator at Penn State’s Engagement Programs Office. “We are saddened that these actions have been taken against one of our organizations and will continue to work with our student organizations to ensure spaces where all are welcome.”

Savage implored student organizations to take steps to make their virtual meetings and events more secure. An easy way to start, she said, is by making sure to click “Require authentication” under “Security” and switching to “ users only” before creating a meeting.

Organizations are also advised to record meetings and auto-save chat logs “in case something like this were to occur” again.

Student-leaders at the Involvement Fair are encouraged to report any inappropriate actions to Penn State’s Office of Student Conduct, university police, or the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response. Penn State’s Counseling and Psychological Services are also available to affected students and organizations.

Penn State organizations are certainly no stranger to “Zoom-bombing” incidents. Over the summer, UPUA received inappropriate and offensive comments from a guest at a virtual meeting, which prompted a lengthy delay.

Penn State’s Spring Involvement Fair will continue through Thursday, January 28. For more information, check out our guide on all of its virtual events and opportunities.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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