College Student Expelled for Racist Social Media Content, Then Reinstated Because She Didn’t Post it
“We will ensure she transitions seamlessly back into campus life when the fall semester begins. She has our full support.”
A student at Wesleyan College in Georgia, a women’s college, was recently expelled for allegedly posting something deemed racist on social media.
The school ultimately reversed this decision and reinstated her when it became apparent that she had not published the material.
Dennis Romero reports at NBC News:
Georgia student expelled for racist social media reinstated, school finds she didn’t post it
Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, said Tuesday a student expelled for racist social media was reinstated after an appeal revealed the woman did not post the content.
“We received new information showing that the student did not post the racist content in early June,” the school said in a statement. “We will ensure she transitions seamlessly back into campus life when the fall semester begins. She has our full support.”
The expulsion was announced by the school June 4 after the college, the first in the world chartered for women, was made aware of the postings that morning, according to Tuesday’s statement as well as one made June 4.
On that day, multiple accounts on social media highlighted Instagram posts by a woman purporting to be a Wesleyan student. One photo features a woman and a statement about Black Americans that uses the n-word.
Two Halloween posts shared that day include a photo of a woman in a green “Border Patrol” t-shirt holding handcuffs and posing with a man in a serape and sombrero, paired with the words, “border?…secured. found him, met him & and just had to get a pic.”…
The imagery examined by the school was from the student’s high school days, Lawrence said, and was created during school activity. The student’s argument “supposedly includes proof that the words were added by someone who downloaded her photo and then reposted it,” she said.
Does this mean this was a hoax, intended to smear the student? It sure looks that way.
.@WesleyanCollege expelled a white student weeks ago for "racist social media" but has now reinstated her after an appeal revealed the woman was a victim of a hoax. Apparently, someone repurposed a photo of her & added fake racist text over it. #HateHoax https://t.co/QScova43JJ
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 31, 2020
Wesleyan College President Vivia Fowler released the following statement on Instagram:
Last month, Wesleyan issued a statement that it had expelled a student for allegedly posting racist content on social media. Today, we retract and repudiate the statement that this student posted the racist content that appeared in social media in early June.
On the morning we learned of the information, we launched an investigation and expelled the student that afternoon, giving her the right to appeal as provided in our policies.
The student exercised her right to appeal. On July 10, the Wesleyan Student-Faculty Judicial Board, comprised of two faculty members, two staff members and two members of student government, ruled in the student’s favor, overturning the expulsion effective immediately. The committee considered new information that we learned in the weeks following the student’s expulsion, which called into question the accuracy of the original information. This information shows that the student did not post the racist content in early June while enrolled at Wesleyan.
In reaching the decision to expel the student, we broke no rule or policy. But that doesn’t minimize our regret for her expulsion. Going forward, we will ensure that the student transitions seamlessly back into the academic year with a feeling of purpose and wellbeing on campus.
In addition, we will continue our work, particularly over the last few years, of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. We are proud of our diverse student body. We are one of the first higher education institutions to offer trainings and workshops on the harmful impact of white privilege. We recently created a Cabinet-level position of Chief Diversity Officer, who also serves as Assistant Dean for Equity and Inclusion. Even though we erred in judgment in the case of this particular student, that will not deter us from doing our part to denounce racism and hate and build an environment where mutual respect and understanding can flourish.
We pledge to do better. If you have questions or concerns about this matter, I hope you will reach out personally to me, President Vivia Fowler or to Vice President for Advancement, Andrea Williford for a conversation.
As I’ve said before, if I had college-age children, I would advise them to avoid social media until they graduate. It is the cause of many problems like the one outlined here.
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