UGA Frat Suspended After Racist Group Chat Emerges

Arianna Mbunwe says University of Georgia is now 'victim-blaming' her for posts that targeted her
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2020 10:10 AM CDT
Student: U of Georgia Is 'Victim- Blaming Me' for Frat's Racism
Protesters march from the University of Georgia in downtown Athens, Ga., on Sept. 4, 2020.   (Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

A fraternity at the University of Georgia suspended itself after racist messages from a group chat were shared online. Screenshots of the messages were shared Saturday by junior Arianna Mbunwe, who started receiving tips about wrongdoing after mocking fellow students' coronavirus practices on Twitter, per the New York Times. Mbunwe, who is Black, says the group messages included racist comments about her. "They were targeting me because my account has become very popular for exposing the people who are contributing to the rise in cases," the 20-year-old tells NBC News. The chat for members of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity had made reference to a tweet in which Mbunwe called out a sorority member for violating social distancing guidelines. "Lord give me the strength to not call that woman a racial slur," one member wrote.

Other messages in the group "Sex Drugs and Darby House" included racial slurs and a reference to Mbunwe's genitalia. Mbunwe says members used fake names. One user went by "Ghost of Aunt Jemima." On Sunday, the university's Interfraternity Council said it was aware of the "racist, sexist, and otherwise discriminatory comments," adding the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter had "self-suspended operations indefinitely." The fraternity's national organization is investigating, along with the university's Equal Opportunity Office. But Mbunwe says EOO Associate Director Kristopher Stevens is "victim blaming me" for the harassment. She shared an email in which Stevens implies some of Mbunwe's tweets—including one reading "all white sororities suck" and another suggesting it should be illegal to be white—are just as bad. (Read more campus racism stories.)

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