USD leaders condemn ‘hateful’ social media accounts claiming ties to university

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On Saturday, July 25, 2020, University of San Diego leaders condemned “abhorrent and hateful” Instagram accounts they say are claiming ties to the university and are being used to promote white supremacy propaganda.

SAN DIEGO – University of San Diego leaders condemned Saturday “abhorrent and hateful” Instagram accounts they say are claiming ties to the university and are being used to promote white supremacy propaganda.

In a letter signed by five university leaders including President James T. Harris III, officials said USD has been made aware of the accounts since Friday. The accounts, they say, tear “at the very fabric of who we are as a Catholic university and the values we hold dear.”

While not naming specific accounts, university leaders said an investigation has been initiated into the source of them. Officials also have requested Instagram remove the accounts.

“We condemn these hateful acts, which specifically target our Black students, faculty and staff,” the letter reads, “white supremacist groups also target indigenous, people of color, Jewish and LGBTQ+ community members in an equally repulsive manner.”

They added, “Hate speech and actions directed at intimidating or harassing any members of our campus community have no place at USD and cannot be tolerated.”

Other letter signers include Aarti Ivanic, associate professor of marketing and chair of the University Senate; Associated Student Government President Joey Abeyta; Graduate Student Council Chair Yasmine Kalhor; and Robbie Ponce, president of the Student Bar Association.

In a Saturday Instagram post, USD’s Associated Student Government named one such offending account. It also threw its support behind another account called @BlackatUSD for creating “a safe space for Black voices at the University of San Diego, as well as other persons of color.”

The university is asking those with information about the offending accounts to contact Donald Godwin, assistant vice president and dean of students at USD, at deanofstudents@sandiego.edu.

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