Racist Comments Spark Investigation at Texas Tech - Higher Education
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Racist Comments Spark Investigation at Texas Tech

by Sammy G. Allen

LUBBOCK, Texas – Officials and students at Texas Tech University are condemning recent “offensive” messages in a “Frat Chat” filled with racist comments that prompted the resignation of the school’s Interfraternity Council president.

The messages,  made public last week, targeted Hispanics and included suggestions to shoot immigrants for “sport.”

Those who saw and reported screen shots of the comments said it appeared to be a GroupMe chat where at least six users, including Kyle Mitchell, president of the school’s Interfraternity Council, exchanged numerous messages that expressed their opinions concerning immigrants who cross into the U.S. at the Texas-Mexico border.

“Don’t bother reporting them, just use a firing squad,” Mitchell allegedly wrote under the username “The Cocaine Cowboy.” “I’m telling you build a wall, and the us govt. can sell permits for legal hunting on the border and we can make a sport of this, can be a new tax revenue stream for the govt.”

The poster continued, saying if he ran for U.S. president, he’d “stop all of their support and let them die.”

As the conversation continued, members of the “Frat Chat” ridiculed immigrants who work in the service industry and said “death” was the “solution.”

Some members of the chat suggested they would grant amnesty to cooks, gardeners, housekeepers and construction workers. The posts used disparaging and vulgar language to describe illegal immigrants and began after Mitchell allegedly wrote: “let’s argue about immigration.”

Texas Tech student Trey Waldo called the incident “embarrassing.”

“I’m usually very proud of this school,” he told news station NBCDFW over the weekend.

On Friday, upon resigning as IFC president, Mitchell reportedly took to Twitter to apologize for his comments, which he said were “egregious, disgusting and lacked morality.”

“I cannot take back what I said, as the damage and hurt to others has already occurred,” he wrote. “But please know that I will continue to own my mistakes and learn from this moment.” According to his Twitter account, Mitchell is a former student at Canyon Lake High School near San Antonio. The high school’s Facebook page lists him as a 2014 graduate.

Dr. Carol Sumner

According to information on the university’s website, Texas Tech University’s current enrollment is more than 35,000. Approximately 60 percent of the student body is Caucasian and 40 percent are from ethnically diverse populations. Hispanic (20 percent) and African-American (5 percent) students comprise the largest ethnic populations on campus. Approximately 8 percent of the student body is of foreign residency, and approximately 84 percent are Texas residents.

The ethnic diversity of the Student Counseling Center clients parallels the diversity of the university students. The Lubbock campus is the flagship of the four-institution Texas Tech University System that includes a law school and a medical school.

Dr. Carol Sumner, vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at TTU, was on the job for only a few days when the incident happened.

She said that the investigation is ongoing and once it is completed, a disciplinary decision will be made. She said African-American students shared their interest in a meeting with the college president and other members of university leadership.

“This is an opportunity to be real about what has transpired. It was awesome to watch the students we met with come together in a way that said, ‘We are here and we want to support each other,’” said Sumner. “There were students from multiple organizations who had come together rallying for and supporting IFC and fraternity and sorority life – because they recognize what this incident meant to people’s perceptions of their student peers in college.”

 

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