A student at Georgia’s Wesleyan College was reinstated after initially being expelled for social media posts that the school says it now realizes she did not make.
After an investigation and appeal from the student at the all-female campus, the school found that “new information” revealed that the expelled student was not involved in the posts in question.
On June 4, the student, who is remaining nameless, was expelled from the school for allegedly putting out a social media post that contained the n-word. The post was put out by an account claiming to be a student at Wesleyan. The same account also made a Halloween-related post featuring a woman in a green “Border Patrol” shirt posing as if she were arresting a man in a sombrero and serape. The photo was captioned “border?...secured. found him, met him & and just had to get a pic."
According to Wesleyan College Alumnae Board of Managers member Jan Lawrence, the board was told that the student provided information proving that a high school photo of the student had been downloaded and reposted by a third party who included the caption.
“On the morning we learned of the information, we launched an investigation and expelled the student that afternoon, giving her the right to appeal as provided in our policies,” college president Vivia Fowler said in an Instagram post.
The student did appeal, and was reinstated after the university found that “the student did not post the racist content.”
“On July 10, the Wesleyan Student-Faculty Judicial Board, comprised of two faculty members, two staff members and two members of student government, ruled in the student’s favor, overturning the expulsion effective immediately," Fowler said.
“The committee considered new information that we learned in the weeks following the student’s expulsion, which called into question the accuracy of the original information. This information shows that the student did not post the racist content in early June while enrolled at Wesleyan.”
A version of the statement posted by the Wesleyan College Alumnae Association includes a paragraph lamenting the fact that the process for the investigation was not carried out in a more equitable manner:
“We must be better in how we think, communicate, and act. This passionate call for introspection is very much for the good. But with action comes the responsibility to make decisions rooted in careful analysis, sound consideration, open dialogue, and above all, fairness
Those principles help form the very core of higher education and scientific and cultural inquiry. There is no place for racism at Wesleyan College, and we take seriously our responsibility to combat that scourge across all aspects of our institution."
The school then used this opportunity to tout its diversity efforts, assuring the community that “even though” a student was wrongly expelled, “that will not deter us from doing our part to denounce racism and hate.”
“In addition, we will continue our work, particularly over the last few years, of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. We are proud of our diverse student body,” said Fowler in the same announcement. “We are one of the first higher education institutions to offer trainings and workshops on the harmful impact of white privilege.”
“We recently created a Cabinet-level position of Chief Diversity Officer, who also serves as Assistant Dean for Equity and Inclusion,” Fowler added.
Fowler did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment in time for publication.