Group chat for Black Miami students hacked with racist messaging

Miami University officials say there is little they can do to find who hacked an African-American student chat site earlier this month. Miami officials condemned the hack, which included racist imagery, as did the school's association of professors. (File Photo\Journal-News)
Miami University officials say there is little they can do to find who hacked an African-American student chat site earlier this month. Miami officials condemned the hack, which included racist imagery, as did the school's association of professors. (File Photo\Journal-News)

A digital messaging tool for Black students at Miami University was hacked with racist imagery, but school officials say they are limited in what they can do about it.

Earlier this month, a group on GroupMe, an app that facilitates private chats, was the hacked with racist depictions, including lynchings, according to The Miami Student.

Miami University officials condemned the racist hack, describing it as a “repulsive and repugnant.”

Jaime Hunt, a spokeswoman for the university, said “expressions of hate and discrimination must be condemned by this community in the strongest possible terms as fundamental violations of our values as a learning community.”

“The racist and threatening intrusion in the Black People GroupMe is repulsive and repugnant.”

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But, Hunt added, “unfortunately, the private student group meeting was conducted using technologies not provided by the university, which limits the university’s ability to investigate; however, we are exhausting the avenues we do have in an attempt to identify the poster(s) and we are working with the students to report the incident as a potential hate crime to the appropriate authorities.”

Joining Miami in its criticism were members of the Miami chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which blasted the hacker as “cowardly.”

In a notice posted on the Miami AAUP Facebook page after the Jan. 7 hack, members wrote the school’s professors and instructors “stand with the Black students whose GroupMe was hacked.”

“We support you and we love you. As teachers, we are honor-bound to work to ensure an equitable learning environment. We pledge to fight overt and structural racism in the classroom, on campus, and in our home communities.”

“And to whoever did this, for shame! Go back in your cowardly little cyberhole and don’t come out.”

Hunt said “we encourage everyone to follow our IT division’s suggestions for steps to help prevent such intrusions in the future.”

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