WAYNE, N.J. -- William Paterson University officials said they were considering how to deal with a student -- purportedly from Bergen County -- who's seen on a social media video repeating a racial slur against black people that many consider the most offensive word in the English language.
The national chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon, the WPU woman’s sorority, said it, too, was outraged and looking into what actions it can take.
Although not officially identified, the WPU student uses the Twitter handle "jasmineee_b13." Another student identified her as a Woodcliff Lake resident who'd been a member of the school equestrian team.
In her video, jasmineeee_b13 asks Twitter users to vote on whether using the slur is OK if it’s a song lyric.
Another woman who was with her in the video repeats the word four times on another recording as if she’s speaking into a handheld microphone -- then says: “If you’re offended, suck my [expletive].”
The second video, recorded on an elevator, had been viewed nearly 150,000 times by midnight Sunday.
"We have learned of videos on social media including one in which a William Paterson student, who is also a leader in our sorority community, makes abhorrent and racially charged statements at a non-university gathering," officials at the university in Wayne said in a statement.
"We are disgusted by this behavior, which does not reflect our values or those we expect from our students,” read the statement, posted by WPU Vice-President for Student Development Miki Cammarata. “University staff are investigating the matter to determine what actions are appropriate."
Nicole Defeo, executive director of the international organization Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, posted a statement, as well.
“We are investigating the actions of one member and will take swift, decisive action to remove her or any member who does not uphold our values,” Defeo said.
In the videos, both women are wearing clothing bearing Penn State insignias. Students at the university in Pennsylvania said they don’t believe the air-microphone woman on the elevator is a student there, however.
Officials at Penn State, while not confirming whether the second woman does, in fact, attend the school, cast a different light on the matter:
“Penn State’s embrace of diversity and inclusion, and opposition to prejudice and hate, are clear," the university tweeted. "We condemn racist messages, as they are hateful and violate our institutional values. We cannot, however, impose sanctions for Constitutionally protected speech, no matter how offensive.”
This angered some Penn State students who urged their school to take a different stand.
“Speaking on behalf of the student body, it's disgusting and disturbing that people are using hate-fueled words, especially on a weekend meant to bring the Penn State Community together,” Student Body President Cody Heaton tweeted. “We will not tolerate this repulsive language which goes against the core values of Penn State.”
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