Sorority sisters at the University of New Hampshire are being investigated after a video of them singing a song containing the n-word was posted on social media.
The girls, all Caucasian, are shown in the video singing along to Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” which contains the n-word.
UNH Dean of Students, John T. Kirkpatrick, said in a Sept. 19 statement on the video that the use of the n-word “runs counter to our values.”
“Moreover, it is a word that diminishes members of our community,” he said. “The posting has been reported to the national [sorority] chapter. Both the university and the national chapter are investigating the matter.”
The school told local media NH1 on Wednesday, Sept. 20, that it was still investigating the incident.
“No disciplinary action has yet been taken by the university,” UNH Director of Media Relations Erika Mantz said. “We believe strongly in the right to free speech as recognized by the First Amendment, and we also believe in the right of every member of our community to feel safe and respected.”
The video, first posted to Instagram, was uploaded to a community Facebook page called “All Eyes on UNH,” a group whose mission says it is to “hold the mirror up to those who act unjustly.”
“The girls sing the n-word without thinking of the implications,” the comment on the uploaded post reads. “This is a showcase of ignorance.”
Some of the commenters on the video agreed: “A song doesn’t give you the right to use that word,” wrote Facebook user Mariano Pérez.
“It’s about making the 92% of white students at UNH more socially aware so that people of color feel more comfortable, welcome and safe at UNH,” user Tommy Haas wrote.
Most of the comments on the post, however, defended the girls, saying they weren’t trying to be discriminatory.
“UNH alumni here… maybe these girls are just being normal people singing along to a song,” wrote user Eric Hadley.
“It’s a song, the girls are not racist and had no malicious intentions. You are creating a problem where there shouldn’t be one,” wrote Stephanie Turner.
Others turned on the page itself for broadcasting the video, saying it did more harm than good.
“Even if you’re arguing that the video of girls singing a song is racist and you stand by that I would ask you if its [sic] even worth it? what does it accomplish?” Facebook user Peter Eisenhaure commented.
“I don’t think pages such as this understand the repercussions of pages such as this,” commented Facebook user Nicole Dale. “If focusing on social justice is consuming campus when realistically nobody admining this page is looking for a solution then this page is really just to shame people.”
The school’s president recently created a task force to combat what he called “racism and hate” on campus after pictures and video were uploaded to the page showing students wearing traditional Mexican clothing during Cinco de Mayo celebrations, one of whom made a joke about deportation.