USC student suspended after using racial slur

Published: Apr. 3, 2015 at 7:42 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2015 at 8:56 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A student at the University of South Carolina has been suspended after a photo of the student who appeared to be writing a racial slur went viral Friday.

The photo, which appears to be taken from Snapchat and posted on several social media sites, shows a list of reasons why "USC's WiFi blows." On the top of that list is the N-word.

"I was really angry,” said Grace Steptoe, a USC Beaufort student. “I think it's a horrible representation of the school. It's not even a funny joke, so I don't even understand why she would do that. I have actually had a lot of people try to say, oh, freedom of speech and everything like that, but it's offensive, and it looked like it was on a board in a classroom, which is completely inappropriate."

The University of South Carolina said it actually took place inside a study room.

President Harris Pastides said the student was suspended Friday and a code of conduct investigation has begun.

The course of action endorsed was also endorsed by the Board of Trustees, Pastides said.

"The unfortunate and disappointing act of a student in a study room has challenged the Carolina community to reflect on our values and tell the world what we believe," Pastides said in a statement. "Respect for all is at the heart of the Carolinian Creed, the code by which we agree to abide. Racist and uncivil rhetoric have no place at the University of South Carolina."

The student, who was not named, could also face expulsion.

"It's unfortunate that it had to happen at a place like the University of South Carolina that I hold near and dear to my heart," said USC alum Sherard Duvall.

Duvall, who works at the Nickelodeon, said there is a moral to this story.

"It's the reason why we teach media literacy and digital media literacy here at the Nickelodeon Theatre's education center is because we want to make people aware that we live in an age of screens, and so, somebody's always watching," Duvall said.

Students said it's the latest example that there's more work to be done and that we don't live in a post-racial society.

Following the incident, the South Carolina NAACP released the following statement:

"A recent tweet that shows a student at the University of South Carolina listing the N-word as one of her grievances against the institution brings to mind a famous quote attributed to the French writer Alfonse Karr, "the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Such negative attitudes have existed since the first European explorers visited the land we now call America. It is disappointing but no longer shocking to see a college student following what appears to be a growing trend in our state and nation. Scenes such as this while captured in still shots from time to time through social media, sadly reflect what people of color often experience in many communities. In the midst of the positive portrayal of University of South Carolina students over the past several weeks, we once again face a stark reality: even at our highest points as a society there are those among us – including the young – who wish they were still in Dixie.

This is why the NAACP cannot compromise, must not relent in its pursuit of dignity, justice and equality for all people in America."

The student shown in the photo has yet to say anything publicly about the incident.

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