PHILADELPHIA – Feb. 10, 2023 – Today, State Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) released the following statement in response to a White student’s racist post on social media during a men’s basketball game at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) this week:
“On Wednesday evening, Faith Gaye, President of IUP’s Black Student League organization (BSL), emailed my office details of a hateful and offensive incident at her university’s basketball game. As the Social Equity and Title IX Office performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often referred to as the Black National Anthem, Nicole Enos, a White IUP student, criticized the song on social media. In a screenshot posted on Snapchat, Nicole Enos wrote: “You ‘n-words’ don’t deserve your own national anthem.”
I am disgusted by this news, particularly during Black History Month, as we celebrate the significant contributions of African Americans to this country. I condemn the conduct of Nicole Enos. Using racial epithets towards others is completely unacceptable. This behavior cannot not be tolerated by college students, faculty, or staff, either in person or online. I appreciate the immediate response of IUP President Michael Driscoll to condemn the statement.
This is not an isolated incident, however. Racial incidents like these are why we started the End Campus Racism initiative, called ENOUGH, and organized with Black and Brown students in 2020. There is a pattern of racial discrimination and harassment on college campuses and in their surrounding communities in Pennsylvania. These reprehensible actions create pain and trauma for all students, especially students of color.
Last night, BSL copied my office on a letter emailed to President Driscoll. IUP students outlined the following five demands for the university:
- Complete an in-depth investigation of the incident and reveal history of the student’s conduct.
- Host an open forum with President Driscoll allowing students to talk about the incident and hear the university’s next steps.
- Ban the student responsible for the incident from any sporting event for the next two semesters.
- Require a public apology from the student.
- Implement an anti-racist policy with zero tolerance to stop future incidents.
I support the IUP student victims and these demands. My office is also introducing legislation that makes racial harassment clear violations of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. My legislation demands that all higher education institutions are held accountable for addressing hate speech, including on social media, and requires campus racism incidents to be reported to the General Assembly.
IUP is not alone. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) should join in solidarity with the student victims. Again, this incident is an example of what’s happening across the commonwealth, not just at IUP, but at PASSHE schools and other institutions of higher education. ENOUGH.”
To learn more about Senator Haywood’s efforts to end campus racism in Pennsylvania, visit senatorhaywood.com/inclusion.