On Friday a racist social media group called “Mud Men” was created at the University of Pennsylvania, using the messaging app GroupMe. Every black member of the freshman class was apparently added to the group. Its anonymous creator(s) announced an event called Daily Lynching for Nov. 17. Beneath that announcement were posted images of black people being harassed, tortured, and abused. A user going by “Daddy Trump” wrote: “Like this if you’re a porch monkey.” A user named “GORT” wrote: “message Heil Trump” and “never be a nigger in SAE.”
The horrendous situation was brought to daylight after UPenn student Calvary Rogers, a track star and Undergraduate Assembly representative, wrote on Facebook and Twitter:
In response, residential adviser Sean Collins sent an email imploring UPenn staff to “immediately notify your residents and friends … and do everything possible to support our teammates. Do everything in your power to keep each other safe and secure.”
Called for comment, media relations director Ron Ozio sent the following statement:
Earlier today a number of Black freshman students at Penn were added to a racist Group Me account that appears to be based in Oklahoma. The account contains violent, racist and thoroughly repugnant images and messages. Our police and information security staff are trying to locate the exact source and see what steps can be taken to cut the account off. Staff in the office of VPUL are trying to determine exactly how many students were impacted and how best to provide support. The University is taking every step possible to address both the source of the racist material and the impact it has had on Black students on campus.
In the meantime, onlookers across the country are praying that this virulent and astonishing hatred isn’t the new normal under President Trump, himself a University of Pennsylvania alum.
Update, 5:15 Nov. 11: University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann has released a statement decrying the group as “profoundly inimical to what we stand for as a university. We will take every step possible to counteract its appalling bias. And we all stand together in solidarity with our Black students who have been so terribly targeted.”