Three students behind a racist video posted after a Black Lives Movement Rally on the University of North Florida's campus will be receiving no punishment for their actions, according to the investigation report from the University.
The video, which was posted in October, depicts two students pretending to be monkeys with the caption “What actually went on at the BML Rally.”
The student who filmed the video will take a diversity training course. As for the students in the video, they will have to meet with administrators.
The four-page report states that the video was posted the same night a BLM rally was held at UNF. The rally's purpose was to stand in solidarity with those publicly calling out police brutality as it relates to the African American Community.
The report also stated that the student who posted the video attended the rally and was asserting "All Lives Matter." The rally took place peacefully except, the report notes, for when the same student exchanged some "terse" words with an "unknown veteran."
The student also stated that the same night the video posted and started to become viral he was threatened, turned off his social media accounts, and worried about losing his scholarship.
"It must be emphasized that UNF is a public higher education institution where freedom of speech is paramount and where exchanges of thoughts and ideas, even those that many may find objectionable, is highly protected."
The report states that students were interviewed regarding the video and none of them felt unsafe, but some felt that it was "ignorant" "stupid" and some said "racist." However, the report never labels the video itself as racist.
Students on campus spoke out about the findings on Sunday.
"They shouldn't be banned forever but I feel like they should still receive some sort of suspension or have to do a public apology," said senior Aakash Bakshi.
"I would never quite fully get it, but I understand that life has a way of circling around, whatever goes around comes around," said freshman Elexis Lamar. "It's just eerie walking past people. You never their beliefs or how they think of other people."
Monkeys have long been used as a symbol of racism to degrade the black population. Likening black people to apes or monkeys was likening them to beings with lowered intelligence and disease. It was, at the turn of the century and beyond, a way to separate races into camps of "human" and "animal." For more on the history of monkeys being used as a racial slur, you can read this HuffPost article.
The conclusion of the report was that the incident did not put any student on campus in danger and it did not preclude a student from participating or receiving the benefits of any university activity, "By no means, should the students’ actions be minimized or go unaddressed, but their actions did not result in limiting or denying other students from participating and benefiting from UNF’s educational opportunities under the operative legal standards. The video has negatively impacted the emotional well-being of some in the campus community and the University has a responsibility to ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment," the report reads.
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