Since Donald Trump was elected on Tuesday evening, reports of harassment, bullying, and racist graffiti have trickled out across the country. Burned pride flags in Rochester, New York. A student handing out “deportation letters” to classmates in California. Trump’s name scrawled across the door of a Muslim prayer room in New York City. Swastikas spray-painted on store windows in South Philly. And now, a student at the University of Pennsylvania reports that black freshmen have been targeted and added to a GroupMe (group texting app) entitled “Nigger Lynching.”
The student, Calvary Rogers, shared a post on Facebook earlier today, where it has already been shared by over 3,000 people in just two hours. In the post, which was screenshotted and shared to Twitter by activist and New York Daily News writer Shaun King, Rogers explains that he spent the morning talking with a vice-provost at Penn after he discovered the group. “I stared an administrator in the eye and literally lost it. And quite honestly I just can’t stop crying,” Rogers wrote. “I feel sick to my stomach. I don’t feel safe.”
Since then, the president of the University of Pennsylvania, Amy Gutmann, has published a statement explaining that the school is investigating the origin of the group, calling it “repugnant” and “horrible.”
We are absolutely appalled that earlier today Black freshman students at Penn were added to a racist GroupMe account that appears to be based in Oklahoma. The account itself is totally repugnant: it contains violent, racist and thoroughly disgusting images and messages. This is simply deplorable. Our police and information security staff are trying to locate the exact source and to determine if any steps can be taken to block the account. Staff in the Office of Vice Provost for University Life are working nonstop with us and our students to determine exactly who has been targeted and how many, and we are doing everything in our power to provide the necessary support and will continue to do so. The University is also taking every step possible to address both the source of the racist material and the impact it has had on Black students on campus.
Update 11/11/16, 5:30 p.m.: An earlier version of this story mistakenly labeled the group as a Facebook group instead of a GroupMe group.