Christian University boots student for racist social media post

by Gregory Tomlin |

(Snapchat)Philadelphia Eagles players raise their fists in protest during the national anthem.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Christian Examiner) – A Belmont University student who wrote on social media that NFL players who raised their fists during the national anthem were "n*****s" who needed to be shot has been booted from the school.

Last week, the student – not publicly identified by the school – posted an image of several black players for the Philadelphia Eagles who had their gloved fists raised, similar to the iconic photo of John Carlos in the 1968 Olympics. Carlos was then symbolizing black power.

It was the freshman's claim that the "piece of s*** n*****s" each needed a "d*** bullet in their head" that sent the Snapchat post viral Tuesday.

"If you don't like this country get the hell out," the post also said.

This morning, we were made aware of a racist social media post by a freshman student at Belmont. We reject comments rooted in racism or bigotry. This is not free speech —this is hate speech. ... As a Christian institution, it is our goal to build a diverse and inclusive community where all members feel accepted, safe and valued.
- Belmont University

Belmont was swift to act. It issued a statement at 10:43 a.m. Tuesday on its Facebook page saying it had already begun to investigate the matter.

"This morning, we were made aware of a racist social media post by a freshman student at Belmont. We reject comments rooted in racism or bigotry. This is not free speech —this is hate speech. ... As a Christian institution, it is our goal to build a diverse and inclusive community where all members feel accepted, safe and valued," the university said.

By 12:20 p.m. the same day, the matter was concluded when the school issued another announcement saying it had already acted.

"After investigating a racist social media post that surfaced earlier today, we can report that the person involved is no longer a student at Belmont. The University rejects comments rooted in racism or bigotry. As a Christian institution, it is our goal to build a diverse and inclusive community where all members feel accepted, safe and valued," it said.

On its own Facebook page, Belmont allowed students to discuss the recent controversy but also reminded students of its social media policy, applied to all official university communication channels. The school said it reserves the right to remove posts it deems derogatory, defaming, intimidating, vulgar or explicit.

The university did not disclose how it notified the student of his (or her) dismissal. Belmont's code of conduct for students, which prohibits the use of any type of racial epithet, claims the student is supposed to appear before the school's Honor Council. If action is taken against the student, the university communicates the sanction by letter.

If such a letter was issued, it also has not been made public and likely will not be as the communication would be considered privileged.

The Philadelphia Eagles have not commented on the Belmont controversy, nor have any of the players featured in the photograph shared on social media. In the photo referenced by the student, defensive end Steven Means, safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Ron Brooks are shown raising their clinched fists, historically a symbol for resistance against oppression.

Belmont was a Tennessee Baptist university for 56 years, but is no longer affiliated with the state's (Southern) Baptist Convention.