Officials are working to respond to what they called an “abhorrent social media video” in which a student called Jewish individuals “pieces of shit” on Snapchat.
In the video – which was made public on Facebook Tuesday and officials said they obtained Sunday – an un-filmed individual appears to have asked the student, “What are we going to do to Israel?” The woman responded, “Bro, we’re going to fucking bomb Israel, bro. Fuck out of here, Jewish pieces of shit.”
The video also includes a Snapchat sticker reading, “Hot Girl Rosh Hashanah.”
University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said students contacted the student life office and the Office for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement about the post Sunday. Nosal said the University notified GW Police Department officers, who conducted interviews and partnered with local law enforcement to identify whether the video posed any safety or security risks.
Officials in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities are evaluating the information gathered to determine an appropriate response “consistent with the Code of Student Conduct,” Nosal said in an email.
“There is no apparent credible threat to our students or our campus at this time,” she said.
Nosal said students with relevant information can email the student rights and responsibilities office, and anyone who needs support can reach out to the student life office and the Office for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement.
Nosal declined to say what steps the University is taking to discipline the woman in the video and the student who prompted the woman to speak in the post.
University President Thomas LeBlanc condemned the video in a statement published Wednesday. He said the comments in the video are “disturbing and hateful” and contradict the University’s core values.
“We will not tolerate anti-Semitism or any form of bigotry on our campuses,” LeBlanc said in the statement. “As we continue to gather more information about this incident and provide support to our students, I urge all members of our GW community to take seriously our responsibility to uphold our values and demonstrate them in our words and actions.”
The woman featured in the post said she was intoxicated the night the video was taken. She said the video was posted to a student’s Snapchat account Sunday and that she does not remember making the comments heard in the video or that the man was filming her.
The student said she remembers speaking about Israel and Palestine with the man who took the video because the two students are both “pro-Palestine” and were discussing their shared “Arab descent.” She said the context in which she made the comments does not justify her statements.
The student said she is “deeply sorry” for distressing the student body. She said that, as a Latina individual, she has also been harassed and “hated feeling that way.”
The Hatchet is not identifying the woman in the video to preserve her privacy as the University decides on disciplinary actions.
“What I said was horrible,” she said in an interview. “I should have never said that, and I regret it completely. There is nothing that justifies that.”
She said she has approached the student who took the video about the incident, and the person has apologized. She has also submitted a statement about the incident to GWPD and is waiting to hear about what consequences she will face, the student said.
“I did not mean for any of this to happen, I really did not,” she said. “It was not my intention, I don’t even know why I said that.”
The student whose Snapchat account name is attached to the video did not return requests for comment.
At least six student organizations, including GW College Republicans, GW Hillel and J Street at GW, have released statements condemning the video.
GW for Israel released a statement late Tuesday night calling the threatening comments “unacceptable” and a “blatant display of anti-Semitism.”
“We urge the University to take sufficient action to ensure that incidents like this are not repeated and that the individuals responsible are held accountable,” the statement reads. “GW for Israel will always stand by its principles of peaceful discussion and debate, non-violence and high regard for safety of students on our campus, regardless of their ethnic, religious and racial background or political belief.”
In a Facebook post Wednesday morning, GW for Israel invited students to direct message the group to share stories and pictures related to their personal connections with Israel.
“While we understand that this in no way will ‘solve’ the greater issue, we feel it will bring our community together during a time of pain and struggle,” the post states.
Noah Shufutinsky, GW for Israel’s vice president, said he cannot speak on behalf of the entire organization but said the University should remove the students involved with making the video from campus. He said the students’ actions do not live up to GW’s values of giving all students equal opportunities to learn without facing threats to their safety.
“For students who already don’t feel comfortable because we’re aware of the threats that our communities face, to see that type of threat, those threats and that reference to violence on campus makes me feel unsafe, and I don’t think those students have any place on this campus,” he said.
Student Association leaders released a statement early Wednesday morning denouncing the comments made in the video.
“This rhetoric is unacceptable, as it not only spreads hatred, but also promotes violence,” the statement reads. “Instances like these are an important reminder that there is plenty of work to be done in the GW community toward understanding and promoting all students and their backgrounds.”
SA President SJ Matthews and SA Executive Vice President Amy Martin will hold office hours Wednesday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Marvin Center Room 427, according to the Facebook post’s caption.
SA Sen. Raina Hackett, CCAS-U and the chair of the diversity and inclusion assembly, wrote in a statement released Wednesday that the assembly “strongly condemns the acts of anti-Semitism displayed.”
“We implore members of the GW community to recognize that these incidents are not isolated or stagnant,” Hackett said. “Instead, we ask the community to realize that the institutional culture of GW is allowing ignorance, discrimination and hatred to breed.”