Penn State news by
Penn State's student blog



President Barron: Hate Speech Toward Black Caucus ‘Beyond Disgusting’

Penn State President Eric Barron issued a statement Saturday to address alleged hate speech directed at the university’s Black Caucus through a “Zoom-bombing” earlier in the week.

During one of the organization’s Zoom meetings at this semester’s Involvement Fair Wednesday, 51 unauthorized users allegedly joined the call to direct “racist and homophobic slurs” at three Black Caucus executives. The individuals in question allegedly sent anti-Semitic and white supremacist language and symbols in that chat, too.

In his statement, Barron said the incident was “beyond disgusting” and “another reminder” of ongoing work individuals must continue to root out hate-filled acts.

“The vile language, images and vulgar content that are characteristics of these coordinated online attacks reflect broader social challenges and ongoing problems within our community and our nation at large,” Barron said.

Barron wrote that the university “continues to stand in solidarity” with the Black Caucus and students at large. He said his administration has reported the incident to the police and will hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

Penn State did not, however, delve into specifics about holding the individuals accountable. The incident does violate language included in the university’s revamped Student Code of Conduct, though, which can be used to enforce disciplinary measures, including expulsion.

Moving forward, Barron said “troubling activities” like the hate speech directed toward the Black Caucus strengthened his goal of creating “a more inclusive community.” It also emphasizes the importance of revamping the university’s Student Code of Conduct.

“It is our goal to work with students, faculty and staff to educate all within our community about the importance of equity, inclusion and justice, and the need for more action to make Penn State a more welcoming place,” Barron said. “While our path forward will be challenging, it is my hope that together we will model inclusion and anti-racism on every campus and become a national leader in higher education in these efforts.”

On Friday, the Black Caucus said it wasn’t surprised by the “disgusting behavior.” Instead, it emphasized the importance of creating inclusive spaces on campus where marginalized communities and students can thrive.

“Communities that have been historically pushed to the margins have fought to be in inclusive environments that are safe and welcoming,” the organization wrote in its statement. “This incident begs the question: If we are not safe in our classrooms, on our campus, in our homes, in an online meeting, then where are we supposed to go?”

Following the incident, the organization reported it to Penn State, which quickly alerted student organizations and leaders about the hate speech. Dawn Savage, the program coordinator at Penn State’s Engagement Programs Office, said the university “strongly condemns” the actions.

“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 said in an email.

Moving forward, the Black Caucus encouraged Penn State to continue using its resources to hold “attackers” accountable and invest in programming and research that can help the university combat racism and “anti-Blackness” effectively.

“These racist acts are deeply-seeded into American society, and the University must do its part to ensure that its Black students are safe and can have the quality educational experience they deserve.”

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction 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.

Follow on Another Platform
State College Links

No. 11 Penn State Survives, Downs Northwestern 17-7

The Nittany Lions grinded through some ugly weather to advance to 5-0 on the season.

No. 11 Penn State Survives, Downs Northwestern 17-7

The Nittany Lions grinded through some ugly weather to advance to 5-0 on the season.

Gameday Coverage: No. 11 Penn State vs. Northwestern

Get ready for some ugly weather in Happy Valley.

Staff Predictions: No. 11 Penn State vs. Northwestern

Our staffers believe Penn State will remain undefeated in conference play after Saturday’s contest.

Send this to a friend