UA student investigated for racist messages

UA student investigated for racist messages

The University is investigating a student for racist language sent via the Tinder dating app. CW File

The University is investigating a student for racist language sent via the dating app, Tinder, this month.

Emi Miller, a junior at Hollings University in Roanoke, Virginia, majoring in communications studies, posted screenshots to her personal Twitter on March 9, at 8:45 a.m. displaying several messages sent to her by Kyle Harcourt, a junior at The University of Alabama. She said she believes she must have matched with Harcourt while he was passing through her area on Spring Break.

In the messages, Harcourt uses the n-word multiple times, and at one point tells Miller, “I come from Alabama where the only place we like our n****** is hanging from trees.”

The tweet was favorited over 13,000 times and received over 7,500 retweets.

Miller posted the screenshot of the conversation and tagged The University of Alabama twitter page, which responded at 4:23 p.m. that same day. Miller also tagged the national and local Sigma Pi accounts, a fraternity of which Harcourt is a former member.

“Unacceptable and not representative of UA students. We are investigating and will take appropriate action,” the verified @UofAlabama account stated in its response. The Sigma Pi national account also stated that Harcourt’s membership had been suspended in January, and has since been terminated.

Harcourt, a native of New Jersey, declined to comment on his remarks or the current investigation.

The University caught national attention last fall for a similar incident involving now-suspended former student Ryan Parrish, who posted racially insensitive material on The University of Alabama Student Ticket Exchange.

Miller said she had no prior knowledge of the event from last semester involving Parrish, but said she expresses a desire for racist behavior to end on college campuses and nationwide. She said her concern over his racially violent rhetoric led her to post the screenshots publicly.

“I thought maybe this is an accident or a joke but when he persisted, I said this wasn’t a joke and was something that needed to be taken more seriously,” Miller said. "...I don’t think this is reflective of individual students at UA or even the student culture as a whole...At the end of the day, I want this to be a growth moment for Kyle.”

Miller said the Office of Student Conduct called her to question her about the incident on March 10, and she had faith that they would respond appropriately.

“We have initiated a disciplinary review through the Office of Student Conduct and will follow due process,” said Monica Watts, strategic communications vice president, in a University statement. “This type of behavior is unacceptable and does not represent the broader culture of the UA family.”

This story will be updated as the investigation takes place. 

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