A video showing a tense interaction between a Kennesaw State student and a member of the university’s advising staff has touched off cries of racism at the school.
The 30-second video posted Wednesday night by student Kevin Bruce, who is black, shows him visiting the university’s student advising office and being told by a white staff member that waiting for an advisor is harassment.
“I’m just waiting to talk to someone. I’m not harassing no one, though,” says Bruce in the video. He is heard but not seen.
“Sitting here until someone is available is harassing them,” the staff member responds, walking toward him.
The back-and-forth between the two continues, with the staffer threatening to call campus security. Then she walks away appearing to make the call.
Bruce uploaded the video with the comment, “Rude advisors at Kennesaw. Smh” (Shaking my head)
Kennesaw State said in a statement that university “officials are working with a student to review his concerns regarding the behavior of an academic advisor in the WellStar College of Health and Human Services. Kennesaw State University officials take seriously all student concerns and are dedicated to promoting a positive academic advising experience for all students.”
A post from the university’s official Twitter account earlier Thursday read: “We are aware of the video and situation. Thanks for sharing your concern with us. A formal complaint process has begun.”
Additional social media posts from Bruce appear to show previous run-ins with the university’s advising staff. In those posts, Bruce says his adviser has been unhelpful. Bruce goes on to say that a faculty member at the university told him after the encounter that Bruce was wrong for not scheduling an appointment with his adviser.
The video has since gone viral on social media, has been shared and re-posted thousands of times with the accompanying hastag, #ITSBIGGERTHANKSU.
A similar hashtag, #ITSBIGGERTHANYOU, has been used by young across the country calling for social change and following recent shooting deaths of black men by predominantly white police officers.
Despite the racism claims made by some viewers of Bruce’s video, Bruce refuted those claims in a later Twitter post.
The controversy comes as Kennesaw State observed a second day of commencement ceremonies on Thursday.
The AJC is continuing to seek more information from Bruce.
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