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Racist messages sent to black students at Trump’s alma mater

Black Penn freshmen reported being blasted with racist and ‘Trump is Love’ group messages on Friday.
Metro file photo

Students of color at the Philadelphia university where President-elect Donald Trump studied were bombarded with racist messages through the Groupme app on Friday.

Furious students announced on social media that black freshmen were added through Groupme, a group texting app, to racist groups including one entitled "N----- lynching."

The groups reportedly bombarded students with content including images of black people being lynched with the caption 'I love America;' racial slurs, fake event postings like 'Daily Lynching' and more racist, hateful messages.

“Literally, every single black freshmen was added,” former Penn student Calvary Rogers wrote on Facebook, as other students reacted with outrage on social media.

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Students were also added to other groups sharing similar content, including “Mud Men” and “Trump is Love.”

It is unclear how the senders of these messages were able to add black Penn students to the Groupme groups.

A screen grab of some of the racist imagery posted by school newspaper theDaily Pennsylvanian(DP) showed most of the groups receiving messages from a user named “Ashlynn Ball,” whose avatar is a picture of the Electoral College map after Donald Trump won the presidential election on Tuesday.

"We are absolutely appalled that earlier today black freshman students at Penn were added to a racist GroupMe account that appears to be based in Oklahoma," UPenn president Amy Gutmann said in a statement released Friday evening. "The account itself is totally repugnant: it contains violent, racist and thoroughly disgusting images and messages. This is simply deplorable."

"Our police and information security staff are trying to locate the exact source and to determine if any steps can be taken to block the account," Gutman continued. "This is absolutely vile material and completely offensive to everyone on our campus. We are both angry and saddened that it was directed to our students or to anyone. The people responsible for this are reprehensible."

Gutman said the university is seeking to identify all students who were targeted to provide them with "the necessary support."

According to student newspaper the DP, a university staffer said her phone was “blowing up” with calls from concerned parents and she was directing them to the office of the Vice Provost of University Life, where students of color were gathering to share their concerns and discuss a response.

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Mayor Jim Kenney also released a statement to denounce the attacks on Penn students.

"I condemn in the strongest possible terms the racist activity taking place at the University of Pennsylvania. Everyone is welcome in Philadelphia regardless of whether they are a freshman at one of our universities or if they've always called Philadelphia home," Kenney said in a statement. "It is heartbreaking to see this type of activity here in the birthplace of our democracy and the city of brotherly love. I urge the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations to investigate and hold all responsible parties accountable for this disgusting behavior."

Caution: Racist content and graphic images of lynchings.

 
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