Pennsylvania College Expels Three for Racist Radio Broadcast
By Mark Scolforo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A private Pennsylvania college expelled three students over a campus radio broadcast in which they made racist comments and used a slur.
Bucknell University president John Bravman met with about 1,000 students and staff about the matter on Tuesday, a day after sending a late-night email revealing the expulsions.
“Their conduct is an affront to our values, damaging to our community and in clear violation of our community standards,” he wrote to students, faculty and staff on Monday.
Bravman did not identify the students but shared their comments from a March 20 WVBU-FM broadcast in “the interest of transparency and candor.”
He said one of the students used the N-word, a second said “black people should be dead” and the third said “lynch ‘em.”
Bucknell spokesman, Andy Hirsch, said an inmate at a nearby prison heard the comments and reported them to a prisoner advocacy group, the Lewisburg Prison Project. The group then contacted a university faculty member, who alerted the radio station’s adviser.
Hirsch said the school’s senior staff investigated. The students were suspended and interviewed before the dean of students expelled them, he said.
“I would emphasize that the context really doesn’t matter once you see what was said,” Hirsch said.
Hirsch declined to say if alcohol was involved, knowing the investigation is not complete.
“I can tell you that there were other people at the station,” he said. “Whether or not they were there at the time when this happened, we’re still looking into all those details.”
Bucknell, a liberal arts school with about 3,600 undergraduates, is located in Lewisburg, about 50 miles north of Harrisburg. The student body is 79 percent white, 5 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian and 3 percent African-American.
The Lewisburg Prison Project said an inmate at the federal penitenary in Lewisburg wrote a letter about the comments.
“He didn’t feel this is right and thought something should be done about it,” said David Sprout, a paralegal for the group. Sprout said he did not know what the inmate was serving time for.
This article is reprinted with permission from the Associated Press and the Black Press USA.