Racist Social Media Post Targets Black Greek-Letter Organizations At Arkansas State University

Black students demand a change to the campus culture that allows these incidents to reoccur.

Black students at Arkansas State University want an end to recurring racist incidents after someone targeted the university’s Black fraternities and sororities April 13 on a social media platform.

“It’s the same statement over and over again and nobody is going to deal with it,” Jamal Romes, the president of Arkansas State NAACP, told local station KAIT about the ongoing situation.

In fact, just one day after the racist post traumatized Black students, KAIT reported that students yelled “white power” from a moving car while its reporter was interviewing junior Orion Hulsey for the story, which didn’t surprise Hulsey.

The post, which appeared on the social media app Yik Yak, reportedly targeted the nine National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Black Greek organizations when the campus chapters were celebrating Greek week Wednesday (April 13) by strolling – or performing synchronized movements unique to each group – through the student union.

Later that day, many of the students came across the anonymous post. The comment called for Black students to “get back on the boat” and said that “Black is a disease,” according to a statement posted to Instagram from the Arkansas State University NPHC chapter.

“Not only is it shameful and discouraging to see our peers using an anonymous app to shame and belittle us, but it is also a mockery of our traditions and history behind our organizations,” the NPHC posted on its Instagram page,” the statement from Kenyon Atkins, the university’s NPHC president, said.

“For so long, minority students have been unable to feel comfortable on their college campus[es], and this is a prime example. As a student body, we are to exemplify unity and understanding for EVERY student—no matter their race or ethnic background.”

In response, Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse released a statement Thursday (April 14) condemning the racist post.

“The language and labels used by persons posting about the weekly [National Pan-Hellenic Council] events on campus is simply unacceptable and disgraceful… The type of statements made recently related to Black students and members of NPHC organizations are shameful and unwelcome at Arkansas State University,” the chancellor said.

He added that hate speech is intended “to do nothing but sow division and strife among groups.”

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“I am disappointed with how poorly the campus climate regarding this is, and I hope that there can be actual change after this incident,” Atkins wrote.

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