College life in Philly

How an Oklahoma student got access to send that racist message to Penn

It turns out he’d been accepted, but declined to attend school in Philly.

Campus of the University of Pennsylvania.

Campus of the University of Pennsylvania.

Melissa Troyer / Flickr

Since several Penn freshmen were looped in racist group texts last week, at least one major question has remained: How did three people from Oklahoma get the students’ contact information and add them to a GroupMe text?

The reason appears to be because one of the involved individuals from Oklahoma was offered admission as a student at Penn for this fall — and, in fact, originally accepted the offer. In a message posted on Penn’s Instagram account, Penn President Amy Gutmann said one of the people being investigated for starting the racist group chat “accepted the offer in May, but chose, ultimately, not to attend.”

After accepting the offer of admission, Gutmann’s message reads, he gained access to a Class of 2020 private Facebook group. It’s there he would’ve been able to obtain contact information for the black Penn freshmen looped into the GroupMe chats.

“He added those individual students to the racist GroupMe message thread without their permission or knowledge,” Gutmann said in the statement.

She noted Penn is working prevent “this type of access” in the future but did not go into specifics.

On Tuesday, the University of Oklahoma announced its student involved in the racist texts was no longer enrolled at the school. Tulsa Community College announced one of its students was also involved and that the student had been suspended.

The racist texts included a subject titled “Nigger Lynching” and other racist phrases and also called for scheduled lynchings.

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