A Colorado College student was suspended for half a year for a derogatory remark against black women, saying they are “not hot.”
The school took action against derogatory comments posted on the anonymous social media app Yik Yak on Nov. 9. Thaddeus Pryor was suspended for six months, which he appealed down from 21 months, while his friend Lou Henriques was expelled, reports The College Fix.
The Yik Yak conversation on campus that night centered around #BlackLivesMatter, where the two men decided to make jokes about it. What began as an effort to raise consciousness quickly progressed into “mud slinging,” Pryor told The College Fix.
When someone wrote “#blackwomenmatter,” Pryor says he joined in on the verbal bashing by retorting with “They matter, they’re just not hot.”
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Pryor says he instantly regretted his quip. “I was ashamed, because some people were clearly upset” over the post, Pryor said. “So I deleted it.”
He learned the next day his remark was not forgotten. “Some people screenshotted the most racial things said [from Yik Yak that night], and they blew them up onto banners and hung them up in the student center in front of the dean’s office,” Pryor said.
His comment was one of the screenshots posted in front of the dean’s office. A Student Life disciplinary panel took Pryor in for questioning after someone had reported him as the poster for almost all of the hateful posts.
School officials decided within 24 hours to suspend Pryor for 21 months and ban him from campus. Pryor was also prohibited from taking courses at other universities for credit toward his degree.
Since Henriques had a previous disciplinary record, he was expelled, reports The College Fix. Director of News and Media Relations, Leslie Weddell, told The College Fix that federal privacy law prevents the college from discussing student disciplinary cases.
In a drawn-out appeal letter, Pryor said he willingly admitted to posting the black women being “not hot” remark in spite of “no evidence” other than rumors that he was involved with the other disparaging comments that night.
He accuses the school of dishonoring its own rules. “During my hearing, rather than presenting me with my possible violations then investigating my actions and how they may have constituted those violations, I was simply treated as broadly guilty,” and not just of posting the single remark, but all offensive remarks that night, Pryor wrote.
According to Pryor, the “entire situation” on Nov. 9 started with insensitive comments aimed at white students, calling them “dirty hippies with small d----” who are “always f------ their cousins,” Pryor wrote.
He advised the school to consider the example the it is setting with its “harsh and immediate” suspension for one tactless comment, asking the dean whether that will “encourage or discourage conversations on campus” concerning an “entire body of ideas.”
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education interceded in the situation late in November, telling President Jill Tiefenthaler that the college must honor its “moral and contractual obligation” to its students’ freedom of expression, in accordance with student guidelines, FIRE reported.
Pryor says he is trying to transfer into another college with higher free-speech rankings for the upcoming semester, reports The College Fix.