By: Sarah Rowan, Editor-in-Chief
Update (Sept. 14, 2017): According to Vice President for Inclusion and Institutional Equity Leah Cox, several reports came in, and each one has been addressed. Cox said that the Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity has met with the student, and that the incident has been thoroughly investigated.
Students and other community members are responding on Twitter to multiple screenshots that appear to show a Towson University student using racial slurs in a series of tweets and a Snapchat conversation.
The screenshots appear to show the student, identified as @MaddieLaQuey1, repeatedly using the N-word and other threatening language.
The student has since deleted her Twitter account and did not respond to The Towerlight’s request for comment.
A tweet from Morgan State University sophomore Hakeem Mowlana, which gained over 300 retweets before this article’s publication, called on Towson to answer to whether or not they condone behavior like this.
In a message to The Towerlight, Mowlana said that he found the tweets in the early afternoon of Sept. 12, when he came across the student and another Twitter user arguing about a tweet in which the student used the N-word. He said that he “felt the need to draw attention to the matter to force [Towson] University to address this very serious issue.”
“I strongly believe that the University must issue a formal statement stating they do not condone this type of behavior from any students and staff as well,” Mowlana said. “And that they must also address the student behind these heinous acts and determine what the proper action to impose on her will be.”
In a statement to The Towerlight, Towson University Senior Director of Communications and Media Relations Ray Feldmann acknowledged that the University is aware of the tweets, and encouraged members of the community to use official channels to report incidents of hate and bias, such as through TUPD or the Hate Crimes and Bias Incident Report Form on the University website.
“The University is aware of the tweets that have been posted over the past two days,” Feldmann said. “Towson University remains committed to diversity, inclusivity and fostering an environment that enables all students to thrive, succeed and achieve their potential. We work actively against hate, bias, racism or discrimination of any kind of our campus or by members of the TU community. Every member of our community is encouraged to immediately report it by notifying TUPD, or by using the Hate Crimes and Bias Incidents reporting process on our website. We take these reports very seriously, they are thoroughly investigated, and action is taken when appropriate. We encourage all members of our community to use these official university channels to report these incidents.”
Many took to Twitter to react to the incident, including Towson’s Black Student Union, who condemned the student’s actions.
— TU BSU (@TowsonBSU) September 13, 2017
In a message to The Towerlight, BSU Co-Director of Public Relations Jason Hamilton said that they made the statement after receiving a notification from a concerned student.
“We want to make sure black students know that they have an organization that is willing to be the voice for them and talk about the hard hitting issues that affect students on campus,” Hamilton said. “We also want to make sure that we can hold the University accountable and make sure that they hear the concerns of students and hope they take action against the tweets and posts this individual published.”
According to the University website, the University will investigate and respond to all reports of hate crimes and bias incidents. In order to prompt an investigation, the incident must be reported.
The person who reports the incident can expect a confirmation within two days. TUPD will respond within five business days to determine if the incident was criminal in nature. The Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education will respond to incidents involving accused students within five days.
In cases where a student is found responsible of a University policy violation, penalties may include educational sanctions, probation and/or suspension/expulsion, according to the website.
The Towerlight will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.