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Racist Video Calls For Lynchings At Southern Illinois University Carbondale

By Mae Rice in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 26, 2016 6:01PM

Warning: This post contains racist language.

An anonymous clip posted to YouTube last Thursday called for lynchings and beatings of black students on the Southern Illinois University Carbdonale campus. After repeated requests from the university, the video was removed from the site on Monday for violating YouTube's hate speech policy. However, university spokesperson Rae Goldsmith told Chicagoist Tuesday that "we now have someone else who has posted it elsewhere on YouTube, so we've started all over again."

The second incarnation of the clip is available, though surely not for long, here.

In a news conference about the video on Monday, the university's Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell emphasized the "need to stay calm," SIU Carbondale's newspaper The Daily Egyptian reported. Colwell also sent an email to the student body on Sunday, in which he said the university was "fully prepared to take action" against the poster of the video, though the action was unspecified.

"Our campus public safety office is looking into the video and its source," Goldsmith added.

The clip in question is roughly two minutes long and features a black-and-white segment from the animated film A Bug's Life, edited so that the bugs repeatedly use the n-word and dismiss concerns of slavery as they band together to protect their "way of life."

Next, a figure wearing a Guy Fawkes mask appears on screen. A distorted voice introduces this figure with "This is SIU ATO," a reference to the the university's Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. (The Carbondale chapter of the fraternity and its national headquarters deny involvement, according to the Daily Egyptian and the Associated Press.)

"We send out this broadcast in the hopes of reaching out to all the hard-working white Americans out there," the distorted voice continues. "We will not stand for these n****** any longer. I want us all on May second to band together and beat ourself some n***** stew... I want to see the trees riddled with as much black fruit as they can hold."

The Daily Egyptian reported that Colwell advocated for "a dialogue" around racial issues following the video and a spate of other racial conflicts at SIU Carbondale this month. Goldsmith said this would involve "workshops" and "conversations with students." No policy changes are in the works as of yet, she said; at this point the campus is trying to "address immediate issues."

That means, in part, increased campus security on May 2. "We have confidence that our students will actually not rise to the video, but we will be prepared," Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith also said that when it comes to revising policy, it's important to note that "some things that people say are unwelcome but they may not be punishable, because we do also need to respect free speech."

The anonymous video is the latest of three racially-charged incidents on the Carbondale campus in April. On April 17, according to the Daily Egyptian, someone drew a swastika on a campus chalkboard, next to the messages "Build That Wall" and "This country is so sad." Earlier in April a black freshman student at the university, Leilani Bartlett, posted a Facebook video detailing how SIU Trump supporters told her to "go back to Africa" and called her the n-word. (Watch her full video here.)

According to Fall 2015 diversity statistics from the university, the student body is 19 percent black, and 32 percent students of color.