ABILENE, Texas-Abilene Christian University moved swiftly Tuesday to reassure its student body and outsiders that the school is welcome to all races after a racist video surfaced online.
The university has dismissed two students involved in a Snapchat video that was later uploaded to Twitter.
In it, a white, female student has a 'blackface' with red lips. There is laughter in the background as the girls say, "I'm a strong black woman." A caption on the recording reads, "This is why black lives matter exists."
ACU's Director of Multicultural Affairs, Prentice Ashford, says he was stunned to see the video on Monday, and that students of all races had approached his office with deep concern.
“Yes, we’re mad, we’re angry, but we have to do something so this doesn’t happen again," said Ashford.
He said the school would expand its diversity outreach and try to increase awareness in the coming weeks.
Ashford declined to say if he thought the current political environment--including last week's election--may have played any role in a video like this surfacing on campus now.
"I can't speculate," he said. "I think it’s a lack of exposure to difference. Whether that difference is ethnic, geographic or historical understanding.”
The school isn't releasing the identities of the students involved.
Carlton LaFrance, an African-American junior, said he hopes it isn't a sign of more things to come.
"I couldn’t really believe somebody here would actually do that," he said. "People think they’re better because they’re white? I see that from some people here but I don’t think that is the majority.”
ACU has a student body that hovers around 4,500 students overall. Of that, 40 percent are minorities but only ten percent are black.
In a statement released late Monday, school President Phil Schubert wrote in part:
I cannot emphasize strongly enough that this kind of hurtful behavior has no place on our campus or on behalf of ACU. Whether on social media or in person, we must hold ourselves to high standards of accountability for what we publish or say.
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