[guest post by Dana]
In the outrage culture in which we find ourselves now living, it’s a breath of fresh air to read about Lamar University and how the institution handled a situation that seems to flare up with regularity in this technological age:
Lamar University has become aware of a tweet with a racial slur was tweeted by an individual 5 years ago.
That tweet was retweeted this week on social media by another twitter user. Lamar is addressing the issue because the individual who tweeted the racial slur 5 years ago is a current Lamar University student.
Instead of kowtowing to the default demand for punishment, Lamar University’s President Kenneth Evans handled it correctly by acknowledging that the comments, although hurtful, were protected speech:
Today I became aware of hurtful and careless comments posted on social media by one of our students and additional negative remarks by others in response. Such comments do not represent the values of Lamar University or our students, faculty and staff, who form one of the most diverse campus communities in the country.
While LU has been called to take disciplinary action against the students, personal comments made on private social media accounts, offensive as they are, are protected by the First Amendment right to free speech. I deeply regret that these comments have offended members of our campus community and tarnished the good reputation of our university. However, as a public educational institution, we are required to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America but are also uniquely positioned to educate individuals to the insensitivity of such remarks.
Thank you for standing together as proud Cardinals and supporting a culture of inclusion that has made Lamar University successful for nearly a century.
Of course, not everyone agrees with President Evans response. Consider the Lamar NAACP:
The historically hateful statements used by Lamar Students must and will be address! We can assure everyone that Lamar NAACP will be immediately working on addressing this issue and we will keep you all updated on our progress with this issue. #notmylu
The historically hateful statements used by Lamar Students must and will be address! We can assure everyone that Lamar NAACP will be immediately working on addressing this issue and we will keep you all updated on our progress with this issue. #notmylu pic.twitter.com/NcthrUxKsN
— Lamar NAACP (@Lamar_NAACP) August 15, 2019
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)