The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Campus reacts to student’s racist social media post

The two students involved in the situation are in the College of Engineering.

The Division of Student Affairs initiated the student conduct process Monday after racist and xenophobic content was found on a student’s Snapchat post.

The student, a white male in the College of Engineering, posted the picture Friday night of someone dressed in a green alien suit with a sombrero, a traditional Mexican men’s hat. The person also wore a nametag with the word “undocumented” written on it.

The student dressed in the alien suit, who is of Mexican descent, is also a student in the College of Engineering and a member of the Sigma Phi Delta Eta chapter at Marquette. The student dressed in the suit and the student who took the photo are seniors as well, the Marquette Wire independently confirmed.

The Marquette Wire reached out to the Sigma Phi Delta fraternity. The fraternity responded with a statement from the student but did not disclose their name.

“I would like to apologize to everyone that has been affected by my wearing of the offensive costume. Particularly, I would like to apologize to the entire Hispanic community,” the student said in the statement. “At the time, I thought wearing that would be an ironic joke regarding my personal history and country of origin.”

Director of University Communication Monica MacKay released a statement to the Marquette Wire via email Monday morning about the next steps.

“As a Catholic, Jesuit institution, we are called to build a nurturing, inclusive community where all people feel safe, supported, welcomed and celebrated,” MacKay said in her statement. “Racism and discrimination have no place on our campus. I want you to know that Marquette University has taken swift action to address this matter.”

MacKay added that the social media post was promptly shared with the Division of Student Affairs, initiating the student conduct process. Due to FERPA privacy law, the student conduct investigation and hearing process is confidential.

Dean of College of Engineering Kristina Ropella also provided the Marquette Wire a statement regarding the situation.

“I am deeply saddened to see this post. It is clearly racist, hateful and hurtful,” Ropella said in an email. “We are committed to creating a community and environment in our college and the university that is welcoming and respects students from all backgrounds and experiences. I know that we are better in our work as engineers when we include and respect the diversity of our engineering community.”

Ropella also mentions she has discussed with university leadership in Student Affairs, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, the President’s Office, the Provost Office and leadership within the College of Engineering. Ropella said she is working to address the student who posted the content as well as meeting with members of the university who may be affected by the harmful image.

Director for Hispanic Initiatives and Diversity & Inclusion Educational Programming Jacqueline Black sent a statement to the Marquette Wire regarding the effect this type of content has on the growing number of students coming from marginalized communities, especially Dreamers and students part of mixed-status families.

“As the chair of the Dreamers Support Committee and someone who has worked with Dreamers my entire professional career, I know firsthand how messages like this can cause deep harm,” Black said via email. “They denigrate the dignity of many of our students and their families, encourage a culture of hostility toward immigrants, and make our campus not only less inclusive, but less safe.”

Black also included in her statement that the “burden is not theirs to carry alone,” reassuring her support for Dreamers and from many faculty and staff. Her colleagues on the Dreamers Support Committee and the student leaders of the newly formed organization, Marquette DREAMers, are also avenues Black cites as support.

“My primary concern in situations like this is for the mental health and well-being of those affected – especially our Dreamers and students who are part of mixed-status families – so I want them to know that there is far more love and support for them here than that social media post indicates.”

Tamra Keith, assistant director of peer engagement programs and services, produced a statement on behalf of the Center for Engagement and Inclusion.

“In the Center for Engagement and Inclusion, we promote inclusive, anti-racist spaces and do not condone any actions that may be contrary to our mission,” Keith said in her statement. “We are deeply saddened by the acts that occurred and stand in solidarity with our students of marginalized backgrounds.”

Marquette DREAMers will be hosting a discussion session Tuesday, offering a space for Dreamers, allied students, faculty and staff to conduct supportive dialogue about the situation according to various student organization leaders.

A combined statement from those who attend will be created during the meeting.

This story was written by Andrew Amouzou. He can be reached at [email protected]

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