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FBI and Spokane police to investigate Zoom-bombing of Gonzaga Black Student Union meeting

UPDATED: Thu., Nov. 12, 2020

Gonzaga University's administration building is seen on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. The Spokane County commissioners have rejected a joint request from Gonzaga and Whitworth University for more than $6 million in federal coronavirus assistance, while both schools seek to reopen their campuses and resume in-person classes this fall.  (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga University's administration building is seen on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. The Spokane County commissioners have rejected a joint request from Gonzaga and Whitworth University for more than $6 million in federal coronavirus assistance, while both schools seek to reopen their campuses and resume in-person classes this fall. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga University announced Tuesday that both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Spokane Police Department are investigating a Zoom-bombing full of racial slurs at Sunday’s Black Student Union meeting.

Multiple anonymous people joined the group’s meeting and used racial and homophobic slurs toward specific members before a more traditional “zoom-bombing” full of illicit and violent images.

“It was a lot, and it was all in 90 seconds,” said Malcolm Duncan, who was presenting at the meeting. “I didn’t know what to do in that moment. I was confused, shocked.”

Gonzaga released a statement Sunday in solidarity with the Black Student Union and released more details Wednesday on its response.

The university’s Information Technology Services Department completed an initial forensic analysis of the attack, according to a university statement. The incident was reported to the Spokane Police Department, which plans to work with the university as more information continues to become available, according to the department. The FBI is also facilitating a preliminary review and investigation, the university said.

The IP addresses of the perpetrators are both domestic and international, the university said, citing initial analysis of the data.

Gonzaga put out information on the safety features available through Zoom and plans to implement internal information technologies within its systems to prevent interference and intrusion.

Black Student Union members requested a therapist who is part of the Black, Indigenous, people of color community, whom the university said it is close to adding to its staff.

University administration thanked community members and departments within Gonzaga for reaching out and showing their support to the Black Student Union. A town hall to discuss the incident, the issues surrounding it and the university’s response will be scheduled in the near future, the university said.

“In keeping with our mission-based values, we are a place committed to upholding the dignity of all individuals,” the statement reads. “Our commitment to eliminating racism from our campus and community demands the participation of everyone.”

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