Almost five days after a racist Snapchat post circulated across campus, University President Thomas LeBlanc publicly addressed the incident in a release Monday.
LeBlanc said in the release that he will be hosting meetings on “race relations” on campus in the coming month following the debate that has ensued about the treatment of minority students at GW.
He hosted a dinner with first-generation students Friday night where he called the photo “offensive” and expressed disappointment in the behavior that didn’t align with the University’s efforts on inclusivity, according to the release.
“I am committed to making GW a place where all our students feel they can reach their full potential in a diverse and inclusive environment,” LeBlanc said. “It is important that I and others make clear our values, understand what is happening on campus and take steps to promote our values.”
The photo, which originally started circulating on social media late Wednesday, included two women from Alpha Phi holding up a banana peel with a racist caption. The two women in the picture and the person who took the photo were expelled from their sorority last week, but have not been publicly identified.
Student leaders are now calling for the sorority to be kicked off campus and for administrators to address issues of racism and diversity at the University.
GW’s NAACP chapter and other student leaders are also demanding long-term changes on campus including mandating diversity training for all students and faculty, calling for regular meetings with top-level administrators and setting up an anonymous resource website for students to report racist incidents on campus.
LeBlanc and Provost Forrest Maltzman said in the release that “many of the recommendations” from GW’s chapter of the NAACP are being “seriously considered.”
On Thursday, Malzman issued a statement condemning the Snapchat post and addressed student concerns at town hall meeting that brought more than 200 students to Funger Hall that same night to express outrage and demand accountability.