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University of Pennsylvania Black Students Targeted in Racist Group Message

November 13, 2016

A statue of Benjamin Franklin, founder of the University ofA statue of Benjamin Franklin, founder of the University of
UNITED STATES - MARCH 15: A statue of Benjamin Franklin, founder of the University of Pennsylvania, on the school's campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Thursday, March 15, 2007. Penn is the only school in the 65-team NCAA men's national basketball tournament field that doesn't offer financial assistance to athletes, adhering to the academics-first credo of the Ivy League, where good grades are prized over championships. (Photo by Mike Mergen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)Bloomberg Bloomberg via Getty Images

University of Pennsylvania administrators on Friday condemned the contents of a racist GroupMe account that targeted black students at the Ivy League university.

“We are absolutely appalled that earlier today Black freshman students at Penn were added to a racist GroupMe account that appears to be based in Oklahoma,” the university said in a joint statement released by President Amy Gutmann, Provost Vincent Price and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli.

“The account itself is totally repugnant: it contains violent, racist and thoroughly disgusting images and messages. This is simply deplorable.”

Screenshots of the account shared on social media showed messages that included racial slurs, a calendar invite for a “daily lynching” and old images of African-American lynchings. It also included references to President-elect Donald Trump’s comments about grabbing women by the genitals without consent.

“I stared an administrator in the eye and literally lost it. And quite honestly I just can’t stop crying. I feel sick to my stomach. I don’t feel safe,” said University of Pennsylvania student Calvary Rogers on Facebook. He said the group, to which all black freshmen were added, was named “N-gger Lynching.”

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University police are working on investigating the origins of the account and taking steps to block it, the university’s statement said. They have also increased campus safety.

“This is absolutely vile material and completely offensive to everyone on our campus,” the statement said. “We are both angry and saddened that it was directed to our students or to anyone. The people responsible for this are reprehensible.”

The racist incident is one of many that have taken place on college campuses and schools across the country in Trump’s name since he was elected president of the United States on Tuesday. Trump railed against political correctness throughout his campaign, often using racist and sexist rhetoric.

“The racist events at @Penn & other PA schools are unacceptable. We will do everything we can to end & prevent these hateful incidents,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said on Twitter.

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