Daily Egyptian

Chancellor responds to Facebook video detailing on-campus racism

By Daily Egyptian campus desk

SIU is investigating racism on campus after freshman student Leilani Bartlett’s Facebook video chronicling racism she said she experienced has gained 100,000 views and 4,000 shares since Monday.

In the 3-minute 26-second video, Bartlett, who is from Chicago and studies business, said racial slurs were used against her and she was told to “go back to Africa” by white students who live in her dormitory, Brown Hall.

The video has spurred a message Thursday from Brad Colwell, interim chancellor, and Lori Stettler, the interim vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students.

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SIUC interim Chancellor Bradley Colwell said in the statement that an investigation into “racial issues that have occurred in a campus residence hall” has begun.

SIU spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith said the university has reached out to all involved parties, but would not confirm which residence hall the university is investigating. The investigation is being led by Students Rights and Responsibilities in consultation with the Office of Diversity and Equity.

The Daily Egyptian has spoken with Bartlett and is attempting to reach the students she complained about. 

Bartlett said these comments came while students were discussing their support for Donald Trump, a Republican candidate for U.S. president. Because of Trump’s views on illegal immigrants, who he called murderers and rapists in a June interview, and civil rights investigations into his housing properties, some students on campus associate support for the businessman with racism.

After on-campus chalking in favor of Trump appeared, students have taken to social media to discuss the controversial candidate.

Bartlett said in the video that she has no issue with people having their own political views, but the students in her dorm were outright racist in their speech.

“You’re not going to make me feel uncomfortable at a school I pay $22,000 to go to,” Bartlett said. “I went down there and I confronted all of them. Y’all want to have an open discussion and an open forum about black people? Let me pull up a seat.”

Bartlett, who said she is a first-generation college attendee, said the other students failed to acknowledge black students who do well in school. She expressed concern that the university’s administration has not disciplined the students for their comments.

“While there are other reports based on race currently being processed, none are similar in nature to the incident in the residence hall, “Goldsmith said.  

She is also unaware of any disciplinary actions so far. 

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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