Three University of North Florida students responsible for a video mocking Black Lives Matter activists as apes will receive essentially zero punishment for their actions, according to a report prepared by the school’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity director.
The video, posted to Snapchat on October 11, shows two white UNF students hooting and hopping on all fours, with the caption “What actually went on at the BML Rally.” That same day, a Black Lives Matter rally was being held at the UNF campus “to stand in solidarity with NFL athletes, such as Colin Kaepernick, who have been attempting to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice,” the report notes.
The student who first posted the video reported that the BML label was intentional. He stated that “BML” referred to “Blessing Many Lives” or “Bless My Life.” The students who imitated monkeys were unaware the video was posted on Snapchat with a caption, until sometime after going out to eat.
Uh, OK. Sure dude.
The university is doing...very little in response:
The student who posted the video has voluntarily agreed to participate in diversity training.
Additionally, the Vice President for Student and International Affairs will be meeting with students involved in this incident to discuss this incident, its impact on the University community, and to work with the campus going forward on ways to advance mutual respect and civility, that are important UNF values.
In other words: mocking Black Lives Matter activists with an overtly racist trope, and then sharing it online where, the report notes, it went “viral,” resulted in a discussion, and voluntarily diversity training.
As the report explains, the school’s legal standard by which the incident would need to meet in order to warrant a more severe response simply wasn’t met.
“I cannot conclude that the students’ actions rose to that level as there was no injury to persons or property or conduct that threatened the safety of others,” the study notes.
Which isn’t to say that the school isn’t aware that the video was incredibly racist.
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.
For some students at UNF, the school’s response just isn’t enough.
“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,” senior Aakash Bakshi told WTLV.