A Kennesaw State University student who said he’s the target of a racist social media post wants the school to suspend or expel the student who took his picture.
The university said it’s investigating a post circulated around campus with a picture of an African-American student sitting in a classroom with a red arrow pointed at his face with the words “Need to call the Klan to solve this issue.”
Elijah John, 22, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a telephone interview Wednesday it was him in the picture. John, who said he’s a senior marketing major, is scheduled to meet with university officials Thursday. He said he didn’t know he was photographed and doesn’t know the student he believes took his picture.
John said he and the student he believes took the picture are in a class together. The student voluntarily removed himself from the class, John said, but he wants tougher disciplinary action.
“I want the school to expel him,” John said.
The AJC is not identifying the student John says posted his image because it has not been able to contact him for comment.
John said a friend sent him the image Saturday night. He believes it is part of a GroupMe messaging thread that wound up on Twitter. John was stunned when he discovered it had been sent several hundred times.
“I was mad,” John said of his reaction when he saw his picture and the comment beneath it.
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KSU declined to discuss John’s comments, referring a reporter to a statement it released Tuesday.
“Kennesaw State condemns discrimination in any form. We are aware of the circumstance on Twitter. We launched an investigation as soon as we became aware of this on Sunday and are continuing to investigate.”
KSU has more than 35,000 students, the third-largest enrollment of any college in the state. About 22 percent of KSU’s students are African-American, according to state data.
The post with John’s photo was one of several disparaging images circulated at Kennesaw State recently. Other posts included images and comments about Jews and Islam.
John said he was interested in meeting the person who took his picture but changed his mind. He said a friend confronted that student and the student who took the picture showed “zero signs of remorse.” John said the student he believes posted the image has disabled his Facebook page.
John said he wasn’t initially concerned about his safety, but has heard discussion about a potential threat against other African-American students on campus. John said he wants to tell his story to make it easier for others who may face similar forms of social media bullying or racism.
“I don’t want anything like this to happen again,” he said.
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