Since Friday, March 23, a screenshot of Tinder messages between sophomore Thomas Wright and an unknown female circulated among Miami’s social media community.
The screenshot shows Wright boasting about an article written in The Student that chronicled the community backlash following his use of a racial slur in a GroupMe message last November.
Senior Davaughn Golden came across the Tinder message last Wednesday, March 21, and after two days of sitting and stirring, he decided to take action by tweeting to the Miami community.
“I was disappointed because I genuinely believed he was sorry [after the first incident],” Golden said. “I tried to move on and say, ‘Let’s just move past it,’ but then I got upset because the university says there’s ‘nothing we can do,’ and I don’t believe they’re using all of their resources available.”
Golden explained that his response was just one of many posts encouraging the use of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to draw awareness about Wright’s behavior.
Many students, especially those from the African-American community, are frustrated with a university and administration that they believe isn’t doing enough to stop this from happening.
On Friday, Miami responded by tweeting out from the @MiamiOH_Student account that “people who spread hate do not speak for @MiamiUniversity,” and that, while the university values free speech, they “stand with those who call out intolerance.”
“He has expressed views that are objectionable and inconsistent with our values,” dean of students Mike Curme said. “We seek to create a welcoming community for all and reject intolerance, hate and bigotry.”
Wright spoke to the Student from a written statement:
“This incident has been very trying, it has consumed a lot of my time trying to defend myself and prove who I am instead of the picture that has been painted. I am not the person who is full of hate.”
Following a protest Monday in the Armstrong Student Center that was spurred by Wright’s Tinder exchange, four black students involved in organizing the demonstration sat down with the Student. They voiced their concerns about diversity and the inclusion of minority students at Miami.
“This happens every year, every year. We’ve been here long enough. We’re juniors and seniors,” junior Aleah Holley said. “We come, we play your political game, we meet with alumni, we’re friendly.”
Holley and other members of the black community believe that the administration uses their minority students only when it’s convenient for them.
So, what should the administration be doing?
“One, before we can even answer that — what is that question based on?” Golden asked. “Is that understanding that there’s a problem and you’re asking us what we think, [or is it asking members of] the administration?”
Overall, Curme appreciated students’ responses to this latest incident.
“I believe [it] is much more reflective of the overall sentiments of the Miami University community.”