In September, a group of students at the University of North Dakota allegedly locked an African-American woman out of her dorm room and recorded themselves laughing afterwards on Snapchat with the caption: “Locked the black b***h out.”
Nearly 48 hours into the incident, another photo was posted on the social media app, showing shows four white students in black facial masks with the caption “Black lives matter” — an apparent jab at the popular African-American human rights movement.
Due to their incendiary nature, the two Snapchats set off a scorching round of debate over racism on campus, with many demanding punishment for the students involved in both incidents. However, as it turns out, it’s not going to happen.
In fact, the students won’t be facing any kind of disciplining for their — glaringly offensive — actions.
After nearly 20 days of separate investigations into the two Snapchat posts, the University of North Dakota officials announced they would not punish the students involved because their actions didn’t violate the school’s code of conduct — and that’s because their posts are Constitutionally protected.
“After a full review of the information, the Code of Student Life and the laws pertaining to each incident, and after consulting with general counsel, [the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities] has concluded that neither incident constitutes a violation of the UND Code of Student Life,” the school wrote in a statement. Their decision was taken in the light of “the Constitutional protection of free speech.”
The cases have been closed and the UND will not disclose the details of the findings since restrictions by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act doesn’t allow them to do so.
In a nutshell, the UND has essentially told its students that they won’t face any consequences for bullying their African-American peers or posting blackface selfies because, well, they can — thanks to the U.S. Constitution.