WSU President Kirk Schulz launches investigation into racist video
May 4, 2017 Updated Thu., May 4, 2017 at 10:05 p.m.
A racist video, much of which was filmed last year at a Trump rally at Washington State University, surfaced on social media this week, prompting outrage by students and another call for inclusivity by the university’s president.
“The attitudes, the behavior, and the language expressed in the video are not acceptable. Individuals with those beliefs are not welcome in our community,” President Kirk Schulz said in a statement to the university on Thursday. He added that the video “was intended to cause pain to our community of color at WSU. It directly impacted our students of color studying for final exams.”
The opening frame shows a white man clad in a Donald Trump hat and T-shirt, with another man’s voice asking, “You ready to make America great again?” They are standing in a crowd of students on WSU’s Glenn Terrell Mall during a rally last October in which the College Republicans erected a plywood wall to show support for Trump’s immigration proposals.
The video then shows a heated argument between the men and several black women. At one point the words “Maybe you should go back to Africa” appear over a still frame of the women.
The video ends with an unrelated clip of a young boy using a slur that refers to black people.
It was originally posted to Facebook by a user called “Ultra Meme Lord.” The account has since been deactivated, but not before the video spread to other platforms.
Schulz wrote on Twitter late Wednesday, “We are investigating to determine who authored the video and will hold them accountable.”
James Allsup, the College Republicans president who organized the Trump wall demonstration, said he shot much of the footage on his cellphone and uploaded it to YouTube. In some portions of the footage, he too can be seen arguing with other students.
Allsup said the footage was used without his permission and that he played no role in creating the edited version. He also responded to the situation in a series of tweets.
“In perhaps the most hilariously embarrassing moment for WSU’s admin this year, they’ve launched a full investigation – into a meme,” Allsup wrote. “Essentially, the FB page ‘Ultra Meme Lord’ used content from my YouTube channel to create a pretty overtly racist meme video. Here’s the thing though: this video can’t even be traced back to WSU. An anonymous Facebook meme page created it. Just further evidence that universities are nothing more than bubble-wrapped safe space havens that need a good popping.”
Asked about his own views on race, Allsup, who is white, pointed to the works of Richard Lynn, a British professor who for 50 years has employed eugenics to explain racial and gender inequality. Lynn asserts that men, whites and Asians are genetically superior groups, and that the wealth and power of nations depends on their racial “homogeneity.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Lynn as a white nationalist. His research, much of which relies on IQ scores, has been panned by the mainstream scientific community.
Other students responded to the video with outrage on Twitter.
One woman wrote that she’s “fed up” with “passiveness toward hate speech on our campus under the guise of ‘freedom of speech.’ ”
Another wrote that at WSU, people of color “are constantly getting targeted and belittled, makes me sick to my stomach.”
WSU’s Black Student Union tweeted, “Unity is everything and ignorance is fought with proactive determination, intelligence and action with numbers. Make your voices be heard.”
The video is the latest display of intolerance to rock the university in recent months.
Last September, a student said she found racist graffiti on a desk in a WSU library – the N-word penciled above “TRUMP 2016.”
And in February, fliers urging people to report “illegal aliens” to immigration authorities were found on the WSU campus. They appeared to be the work of a white supremacist group called American Vanguard.
Schulz said in his statement that administrators would launch a formal effort to improve the social climate at WSU. He said administrators would prepare a report by June 1 and create a website where students can track progress and provide input.
“We will recommit, in our actions as well as our words, to building a truly welcoming and inclusive environment at WSU,” Schulz said in the statement. “We are not progressing quickly enough.”
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