A Facebook post made on Wednesday, Nov. 1 has raised significant attention to the issues of racism and discrimination at Miami with over 500 likes and shares in the past five days.
“So, Miami University student, Thomas Wright, described black students as a ‘n—-r’ in a GroupMe chat,” junior Da’Vante Montgomery wrote. “There’s about 500 black students out of 16,000 at Miami. This is what we deal with DAILY! I dare all of the white students to hold him and the UNIVERSITY accountable.”
The post went further to discuss the steps the Miami community needs to take to address what Montgomery believes to be a racist culture on campus.
“Are we surprised? Hell no!!! But we are about to make him famous,” Montgomery wrote. It’s time to have a serious conversation about being BLACK AT MIAMI UNIVERSITY.”
Screenshots of Thomas Wright’s message were attached to the post.
Wright commented numerous times on the Facebook post that if anyone personally messaged him, he’d explain himself.
“I’ve talked to faculty and I’ve talked to students. I’m owning up to what I said. I’m ashamed. I’m embarrassed. I’m sorry,” Wright said. “I want people to know that I’m taking steps to learn from this and steps to educate those that don’t understanding the meaning of the word. This has put things in perspective.”
When prompted about whether or not the university would take disciplinary action against Wright, Susan Vaughn, director of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution said in an email that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects students’ privacy with regards to disciplinary records.
“Any records maintained in the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution are subject to this law,” Vaughn said.
For Montgomery this issue is not about Wright, but rather a much larger institutional problem.
“Thomas Wright is just one person who represents a much larger problem,” he said. “We want to make famous the fact that these things are happening at our university and the fact that Miami is not holding people accountable.”
One of the active commenters on Montgomery’s post, sophomore Justinee Adams, also spoke out against the lack of accountability at Miami when it comes to racism.
“I was pretty shocked at the outright racism,” said Adams. “We’re supposed to be one community and it doesn’t make it easy when people voice different opinions like that.”
There will be a Black State of the Union forum tonight at 7:11 pm in McGuffey Hall 322 in response to this event and to continue the conversation about inclusion on our campus.