A student at Texas’s Hardon-Simmons University is “no longer enrolled” after an allegedly “racist” TikTok video she made came to light.
According to NBC News.com, H-S President Eric Bruntmyer called the video “deeply disappointing” and “unacceptable,” and said it doesn’t “reflect the Christian values” of the private Baptist institution.
Although both NBC and Inside Higher Ed use “racist” in their article headlines, the content of the student’s video is more than highly debatable in that regard. What the young lady appears to do is, in a tongue-in-cheek manner, highlight the differences in reactions to when a black person is killed by another black … as opposed to a white:
In the original video, the young woman first writes the caption, “People when a BLACK person kills a BLACK person” which shows her standing with a calm demeanor.
The next caption in the video reads, “People when a BLACK person kills a WHITE person,” and shows the woman remaining calm.
At the end of the video the caption transitions to, “People when a WHITE person kills a BLACK person,” and shows the woman engulfed in flames and mouthing angrily.
According to Abilene Reporter News, the university refused to elaborate further on the matter, citing privacy laws. President Bruntmyer touched on the free speech aspect, but noted “within the HSU community, that right is always linked with a responsibility as Christians, as well as an inherent responsibility in the consequences of our words and our actions.”
Forty-eight Hardin-Simmons faculty signed on to a letter “denouncing racism” and “affirming Black lives matter” [sic] following revelation of the video.
Students and student organizations are free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. They will be free to support causes by orderly means which do not disrupt the regular and essential operation of the university and do not violate the values and standards of behavior articulated in the disciplinary code.
The Handbook does include a section which states students “should act in a mature manner and exercise good judgment in conducting his/her personal life both on and off campus” (emphasis added), but it’s worded as an advisory measure, not as something which is subject to a penalty like dismissal.
The “maturity” factor may be in question here, but the relevance of the political topic certainly is not.
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