Racist social media posts upset Davidson College campus

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Davidson College is investigating social media posts, a day after an activist group says it connected a Twitter account that posted racist and anti-Semitic statements to a student.

In a Thursday morning email to the campus, President Carol Quillen said racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism are “antithetical to everything Davidson stands for.”

She said in a later email that police are investigating and that “the two students named on social media are not on campus.”

“Rumors have been circulating on social media about firearms, external demonstrations and other threats to campus,” she wrote, adding that there were no credible threats to campus.

Federal law limits the amount of detail the school can provide, Quillen wrote. She did not name the students.

“What I can tell you is that your safety is our primary concern,” she wrote.

Screenshots taken by the activist group included posts that praised Adolf Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan. The Twitter account, which did not include a full name, has been deleted.

The activist group connected the account to Facebook and Instagram accounts of a Davidson student by comparing photos and some personal details. The Observer has not verified that the student created the Twitter account.

Two students were removed from Davidson’s Club Sailing team in connection with the social media posts, team president Alex Sizemore said Thursday. He told the Observer that the students joined the team at the beginning of the semester, and the team immediately barred them from participation when it learned about the Twitter posts.

“Their hate does not belong on our team,” Sizemore said.

Davidson College spokesman Mark Johnson did not respond to calls, emails or a text message requesting comment Thursday.

The college released two statements about the issue Wednesday via Twitter. The first one, around 9:15 p.m., said the college condemned bigotry and racism. In that statement, officials promised the college “is on it” after hearing about concerning information.

A second tweet from the college, around 11:50 p.m., said that the Davidson community was safe and there were no threats to campus. “The situation is being addressed,” that tweet said, without providing detail.

Student leaders, including the Student Government Association president and vice president, sent an email to students Thursday afternoon condemning hate and encouraging respect.

“We are all better than this and we have all seen the strength that comes from what makes us different,” the email states. “May we never settle for anything less, and may we never be complicit in complacency.”

They’ve planned an open meeting at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Lilly Gallery on campus.

Cristina Shaul, a spokeswoman from the town’s police department, said they were helping Davidson’s campus police and did not answer further questions.

Jane Wester: 704-358-5128; @janewester

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