Dear Seattle University Community,
Last evening during a virtual meeting of Seattle University’s Black Student Union, a group of individuals Zoombombed the call and disrupted the event with racist and hateful speech. First and foremost, we want to state clearly that Seattle University condemns hate speech of this sort and all forms of racism. We are committed to creating an inclusive and affirming campus community and last night’s incident is a horrifying and abhorrent violation of our values and the kind of university we aspire to be.
What we know
We do not know who is responsible for this hateful act, but at this time there is no indication they have any affiliation with Seattle University. We should add that such actions, should they be taken by affiliates of the university, are unequivocally prohibited under the university’s Student Code of Conduct, Bias Harassment Policy and Acceptable Computer Use Policy.
As is the case for any incident involving racist and hateful actions that take place on our campus, whether in person or virtually, last evening’s incident is being investigated by the university. In this instance our Department of Public Safety and Information Technology Services are leading the effort, including reporting it to the Seattle Police Department and FBI. We encourage anyone within or outside our community with information that may be helpful to the investigation to please contact our Department of Public Safety at (206) 296-5990 or email@example.com and/or via EthicsPoint (which provides the option to report anonymously) online or at 888-393-6824.
Caring for our community members
As a campus community committed to racial equity and antiracism, it is vital that we respond to incidents such as last night’s with allyship and compassion. Our colleagues in Student Development and the Black Student Union advisors immediately reached out and are continuing to offer resources and support to the students who were directly impacted by this incident. This must be a shared endeavor. It is on each and every one of us to stand with and affirm our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community at Seattle University—especially in times like these, yes, but always. There is nothing we do as an institution that is more fundamentally important than valuing the dignity and worth of all members of our university family.
While it should not be necessary to ensure that our virtual meetings are secure from uninvited individuals seeking to disrupt the proceedings with vitriol and hate, sadly, this is our reality. Situations like last night’s are a reminder of the measures that can be taken to prevent Zoombombing. At the same time, we know that no password or other security feature exists to eliminate the hatred and racism persisting in our society. As important as taking steps to not give space to such hateful and hurtful rhetoric are the antiracist actions and ongoing learning we are called to undertake together.
Let us deepen our efforts to build a more just and humane world by becoming a more inclusive campus community as we join together in standing with and supporting the members of the Black Student Union.
Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.
Shane P. Martin, PhD
Natasha Martin, JD
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Alvin Sturdivant, EdD
Vice President of Student Development