I want to update you regarding the incident involving Bucknell students using a racial slur and language referencing racially motivated violence during a live, on-air WVBU radio broadcast on Friday, March 20. Their conduct is an affront to our values, damaging to our community, and in clear violation of our community standards. As a result of their behavior, early this afternoon the University expelled three students.
I think it's important to share with you the steps that led to this expulsion. As I understand it, WVBU leadership learned of the incident in the early afternoon hours of Wednesday, March 25 through a complaint. Staff moved quickly to review recordings to identify the radio show and isolate the recording of the comments. I and the University's senior administrators learned of the incident shortly before 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 26. By that evening, the students involved were identified and suspended pending further investigation.
Having made the decision to expel these three individuals, and in the interest of transparency and candor, I will share with you the language that was broadcast and upon which we acted. Please know that it troubles me deeply to have to reiterate the comments in any manner, much less in a note to our Bucknell community:
Student 1: "[N------]"
Student 2: "Black people should be dead."
Student 3: "Lynch 'em!"
It is clear to me that this is not an isolated incident. Racism exists on campuses across the country and, in fact, throughout society. We need to look no further than recent news headlines to see that. We cannot ignore the fact that it also exists at Bucknell and that some in our community experience it often.
I do not presume to know how to end racism and ensure an inclusive environment for everyone at Bucknell, but with renewed urgency we need to start that conversation in earnest. Tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon, I invite you to join me in Trout Auditorium to begin discussing how, together, we can move forward and ensure that we take a true stand against racism.
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