Provost Forrest Maltzman condemned a racist Snapchat post Thursday that purportedly features members of a sorority.
The image, which was posted on Snapchat, appears to show a member of Alpha Phi holding a banana peel with a racist caption included on the post. The University said Thursday morning that officials were “looking into” the incident after the photo was tweeted to senior officials.
“Whatever the circumstance, or true intention of those involved, the image was disturbing, hurtful and not reflective of who I know we are as a community,” Maltzman wrote in a statement. “Images like the one posted on social media can make people question whether they are welcome at the University, and that is unacceptable to me.”
Maltzman said that since the image was posted, the University has been in contact with Alpha Phi’s national organization and students at GW who were affected by the incident. He did not provide any further details about the inquiry.
He said there have been “too many instances of racist language and imagery on college campuses.” There were racially charged incidents last year at a few D.C.-area universities, including American University and the University of Maryland.
Maltzman added that he hopes the incident will open up a dialogue on racial inclusion, and that universities “thrive” because of students with diverse perspectives and backgrounds.
“We must remember that words and symbols have tremendous consequences,” he said. “And, when they are made without regard to how those who receive them react, we can cause harm and hinder the university’s ability to achieve the preeminence to which we all aspire.”