HSU students under investigation due to racist comments posted on social media

Two Humboldt State University students are currently being investigated regarding racist taunts made in a video and posted on social media. The Dean of Students Office was made aware of the video on June 3 and the students were immediately suspended from athletic and fraternal campus organizations. 

The students, plus another individual, were seen repeatedly using the N-word. Following that, one student made a comment on Black people’s skin and said it is “crusty” and that they should “take care” of their skin. 

Interim Dean of Students Eboni Turnbow, Ph.D., said via email to El Leñador that she cannot share, confirm or deny the identities of the students relating to the investigations. 

In the initial email sent out to the campus community by HSU administration on June 3, the statement said, “The posts surface at a time of deep pain for the Black community. Such behavior, and the white supremacist culture that provides cover for it, does not reflect HSU values and we condemn it.”

Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), “the final outcomes of the investigation and the names of the students involved cannot be released,” HSU’s email statement said. 

HSU students and alumni responded to the university’s Twitter posts, calling for the expulsion of the students. 

A petition to “Expel 2 racist students” was also created on change.org and so far has gathered more than 19,000 signatures out of 25,000– exceeding its original goal of 5,000 signatures.

Turnbow said she cannot address unknown future actions regarding the petition and there are a variety of circumstances that can lead to expulsion, with each case evaluated on a case by case basis.

“Regarding racist remarks, it depends,” Turnbow said. “We have to respect the difference between free speech versus hate speech. Freedom of speech, federal law allows; hate speech, we can investigate via code of conduct.”

The code of student conduct details the sanctions and processes when it comes to student discipline. 

“It is important that our campus community is aware we will hold our students accountable pending results of the investigation and within the scope of the code of student conduct,” the HSU email said.

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