PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Officials at UPenn say a number of black freshmen students were added to a racist group which appears to be based in Oklahoma.
On Saturday morning, the official UPenn Instagram released on update on the events, saying:
"We wanted to update you on the latest developments in the racist messaging that was directed at Black students at Penn. Penn Police have been working with the FBI and their counterparts in Oklahoma, and Friday night President Gutmann received a phone call from David Boren, President of the University of Oklahoma, informing her that they have determined that there is a basis for temporarily suspending one of their students as they investigate his involvement in this matter. Penn Police will continue to work with the FBI and University of Oklahoma Police in completing the investigation, as additional individuals may be involved.
We are grateful for the good investigative work that has gone into this—work that will continue—and also for the swift action by the University of Oklahoma. Our overriding concern is the safety and well-being of our students, and we will continue to do everything to support them so they can recover from this deplorable incident."
The University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren also released a statement regarding the University of Pennsylvania incident.
"The University of Oklahoma has made it clear that we will not tolerate racism or hate speech that constitutes a threat to our campus or others. We have a record of taking swift action once all of the facts are known. I have ordered the appropriate officials at our university to open immediate inquiry to determine the extent of involvement by a University of Oklahoma student in this matter. The university has already determined from its preliminary inquiry that there's a basis for a temporary suspension of the student under our student code while we continue to gather all of the facts. That suspension is effective immediately. It would appear this matter did not originate at the University of Oklahoma, but started elsewhere. This matter originally surfaced from messages to students at the University of Pennsylvania. We are notifying the University of Pennsylvania of our finding."
According to officials, the Group Me account contains violent, racist images and messages. 300 students poured into Huntsman Hall on the UPenn campus, outraged and shaken over the post that black freshman students received Friday morning through the anonymous messaging app.
The university says it appears the account may have been created in Oklahoma on it references to Daddy Trump and Trump's Disciples.
“There's been racial tension, distrust from blacks and whites and minorities and whites in general,” said senior Nicolas Minor.
And at a bar just off campus,
"They were chanting build that wall, build the wall, moments after Trump was seeming to win," said minor.
Chad Deon Lassiter is 2001 Penn grad and heads the school's anti-racism organization.
“This is a direct reaction to him being elected president of the United States. He's created this atmosphere, and he's awakened the dark side of our democracy,” said Chad Deon Lassiter
Closed to the media Friday night, a black student group called the town hall meeting with the university president, offered comfort and counseling to those feeling scared.
UPenn says their police and information security staff are trying to located the exact source and see what steps can be taken to cut the account off. Staff in the office of Vice Provose for University Life are trying to determine exactly how many students were impacted and how best to provide support.
A statement from Penn on the current events on campus. pic.twitter.com/CALK7OERup— Penn (@Penn) November 11, 2016
Affected students have been encouraged to contact the Vice Provost for University Life. The University is taking every step possible to address both the source of the racist material and the impact it has had on Black students on campus
Mayor Kenney released a statement:
"I condemn in the strongest possible terms the racist activity taking place at the University of Pennsylvania. Everyone is welcome in Philadelphia regardless of whether they are a freshman at one of our universities or if they've always called Philadelphia home. It is heartbreaking to see this type of activity here in the birthplace of our democracy and the city of brotherly love. I urge the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations to investigate and hold all responsible parties accountable for this disgusting behavior."