The University of Florida says it’s not tolerating racism in any form. And it cost a Cape Coral teenager her shot at at least one university after a racist Instagram post surfaced.
We spoke to UF Tuesday about what the university does when it learns about offensive or hateful posts on social media. And the Instagram post made by a student in Cape Coral is fueling a new debate at UF among students and administrators.
“We had a number of these posts on social media that were racist in nature that were brought to our attention, said Steve Orlando, the assistant vice president of communications at UF.
Orlando confirms UF is investigating close to a half a dozen posts from both current and prospective students, including one posted by a Mariner High School student in December 2018, who was admitted to UF.
The caption says, “I really try so hard not to be a racist person, but I most definitely am, there’s no denying it.” She goes on to say she wants to punch two black girls sitting behind her.
“You have the right to freedom of speech, yes,” FGCU professor Pam Seay said. “But there may be consequences for words that you use and things that you say.”
The university confirms the girl who posted this is no longer a prospective student. We spoke to the teen’s father on the phone Tuesday, and he said they have decided not to comment due to safety concerns.
“People should be able to share and exchange ideas from different backgrounds and different schools of thought,” Orlando said. “But I would also say the university is a place where racism is not tolerated.”
Orlando says UF is quick to monitor posts by prospective or admitted students when something is brought to the attention of university staff.
“If something is brought to our attention, you know we’re certainly compelled to look at it and find more information about it,” Orlando said.