MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A virtual diversity event at Kansas State University was flooded with racist comments after a white student who caused an uproar with a racist tweet about George Floyd earlier this year shared a link to the livestream and Zoom call with his followers.
The executive board of the KSU Young Democrats blamed followers of Jaden McNeil for disrupting Tuesday’s KSUnite event in a tweet and demanded that he be expelled, The Manhattan Mercury reported.
“Kansas State might claim to have a welcoming atmosphere, but it’s all a sham until they take concrete action against white supremacist ideals on campus,” the group wrote.
Jeff Morris, a spokesman for Kansas State, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the disruption was so severe that the moderators had to disable the chat function for participants.
“We were Zoom bombed by multiple people, many of them were hiding behind pseudonyms so one of the things we are trying to track down is who exactly participated,” Morris said. “Basically, they interrupted our speakers, flashed video images and then tagged a lot of vulgar and racist comments in our chat comment function of our session.”
He said federal privacy laws prevented him from discussing whether McNeil was involved or whether any students would be disciplined. An investigation is underway.
Issues arose after the university tweeted about the annual event to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Generally it includes an in-person rally and speakers, but this year’s event was entirely online.
McNeil, in a since-deleted tweet, retweeted the university’s message and said “Groypers, stand back and stand by.” The tweet was a reference to Groypers, a loose collective of alt-right figures, and a comment made by President Donald Trump during the first presidential debate on Sept. 29 when he said the same to Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group whose members advocate white supremacy.
McNeil also caused an uproar a month after Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody when he tweeted, “Congratulations to George Floyd on being drug free for an entire month!” Players on the school’s football team threatened a boycott, and the university responded by launching a diversity and education fund amid several other initiatives to address racial injustice.
McNeil responded to the latest pushback Thursday in a tweet, “Anti-White KSUnite did nothing but divide and spread disinformation. Now they’re slandering me as ‘alt-right’ and lying about being ‘hacked’ in an attempt to cover up the blatant, anti-White discrimination that was exposed. A total disaster for the school. Pull their funding!” His Twitter account doesn’t accept direct messages.