Dear Red Wolves:
On behalf of the entire Arkansas State University community, I condemn the recent statements of anonymous individuals on a social media app, which I won’t glorify by naming. The language and labels used by persons posting about the weekly NPHC events on campus is simply unacceptable and disgraceful. Notorious in the past for anonymous bullying and harassment, this social media platform has returned to university campuses across America in the last year with the same terrible and irresponsible results of its previous version. The type of statements made recently related to Black students and members of NPHC organizations are shameful and unwelcome at Arkansas State University.
I want to be clear that we condemn racism, sexism, and bias against others in all forms. They are unacceptable and violate the very essence of our mantra that Every Red Wolf Counts. As screen shots of the comments are posted elsewhere, we want to remind everyone of the unaccountable cyberbullying the platform encourages.
To quote from the app’s own terms, it “has a zero tolerance policy for any post targeting a person or group based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, age, sexual orientation or disability." I want to remind the A-State community that these comments can be reported in the app, or directly to the app via email.
In closing, I also want to appeal to our communities' better intentions. These type of statements are not funny, edgy, or cute. They are deliberately divisive and incredibly hurtful to those targeted by the comments and by others who believe in the ideals of common courtesy, respect for others, compassion, and empathy. Comments like these are designed to do nothing but sow division and strife among groups.
This is not the first time that the app and its semi-anonymous nature have been used to harm members of our campus community. At A-State, our values cannot be centered on efforts to demean or belittle others in our community. Instead, we must take every opportunity to promote better understanding of those not in our groups, and to embrace and accept our differences. The great seal of the United States bears the phrase “E Pluribus Unum,” and at times like these, we must remember that guiding principle of our nation: out of many, one.