Another racial photo being investigated at UND

Published: Sep. 22, 2016 at 4:54 PM CDT
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The University of North Dakota is investigating another racially-charged photo that was posted to social media. This time, the photo contains four white people wearing black facial masks with the caption "Black Lives Matter".

A facebook user posted the picture on her page, tagging UND saying "the problem is growing worse here at UND."

UND spokesperson tells Valley News Live that police and administration were notified Wednesday about the picture and they are investigating. The spokesperson tells us the students in the picture attend UND.

This picture comes just 24 hours after another one. The first picture was posted on snapchat. It showed three white students smiling and holding up a peace sign with the caption of "locked the black b*tch out."

UND President Mark Kennedy sent out statement on Thursday saying he is appalled that within 48 hours two photos have been taken and that the university has much work to do.

The following statement is from UND President Mark Kennedy:

I am appalled that within 48 hours two photos with racially-charged messages have been posted on social media and associated with the UND campus community. It is abundantly clear that we have much work to do at the University of North Dakota in educating our students, and the entire University community on issues related to diversity, inclusion, and respect for others.

The UND Police Department and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities are going through their processes in investigating these two incidences. We are moving as fast as we can. I understand that we all would like a swift resolution. However, our society, our legal system, and campus conduct processes are predicated on due process. We must maintain the integrity of our policies and procedures by following due process.

I have been disappointed to learn that we have people in our university community who don't know that the kind of behavior and messaging demonstrated in these two photos is not ok, and that, in fact, it is inexcusable.

Our mission is educational in nature. Our student conduct process is educational in nature. This is our opportunity to provide an education to all members of our campus community, especially those who may not understand the gravity of their actions. Based upon my conversations with students and others, I can assure you that the messages of the two photos are painful to many individuals.

I have heard from many within our campus community, as well as alums and individuals not directly connected to the University, who are encouraging us to use this situation as an opportunity to address what some see as long standing issues within our community and across the country.

We must demand better of ourselves and our university community. I am directing my team to explore best practices for diversity education amongst premier institutions and will work collaboratively with the AVP for Diversity and Inclusion and University Senate to bring it to reality at UND.

As I have said before, we value diversity and inclusion and take seriously respect for others as well as the exchange of different thoughts and ideas. To achieve the vision of One UND, we must take steps to demonstrate these values across our university community.