November 11, 2016
The social media platform GroupMe was used in a campaign of cyberbullying. African American students were added to groups with names like “N____r Lynching” “Mud Men” and “Trump Is Love.” Events were then created in these groups with names like “Daily Lynching,” and racist messages and images were posted.
Penn state president Amy Gutmann informed law enforcement. With the help of the FBI and Microsoft, the incident was tracked to three people in Oklahoma, including a University of Oklahoma student who has previously been accepted to Penn and had access to a contact list of freshmen at Penn.
In addition to turning the matter over to law enforcement, Gutmann attended a meeting of Black student groups and their allies right after the incident to show support. The university also catered the meeting. The administration released numerous updates as the investigation unfolded along with written and video statements of solidarity with the affected students. Jezebel quotes a student, praising the university’s response: “They offered a safe space for black students, they brought in a cyber team right away, and they had detectives right away.”
Other campus groups also responded well. Faculty sent out a joint letter asking Trump to denounce the harassment. Even the Campus Republicans denounced it.