UA student under disciplinary review after sending racist and homophobic Tinder messages
The first message said, ‘Is the black guy in your picture your boyfriend?’
A University of Alabama student is under investigation after he sent racist and homophobic Tinder messages regarding a photo included in 20-year-old Emi Miller’s profile.
UA junior Kyle Harcourt sent Miller a series of disturbing messages using the n-word and homophobic slurs.
Miller, who doesn’t go to UA, matched with Harcourt on Tinder on March 9th. “I think we might have swiped [on] each other while I was in DC for an internship over January.” She saw his messages last Thursday morning before her first class.
His first message read, “Is the black guy in your picture your boyfriend?” And then, “Ain’t no one like a n****r lovin white girl.”
Miller said, “When I first saw the message, asking about the African American man in my profile picture and calling me a ‘n***** lovin’ white girl,’ I was initially confused and shocked. Confused, because I don’t have any photos with an African American man on my profile.
“I later figured out that he was referring to a picture I have with my black female roommate from a snow day, where she’s wearing a hat. And shocked because those words were so vulgar and unnecessary. I screenshotted that message immediately because I was just thinking, ‘this isn’t okay, I have to do something about this.'”
Miller replied to Halcourt’s message explaining his “use of the n-word is actually a facet of racial violence.”
His following messages were even more disturbing. He said, “I come from Alabama where the only place we like our n****rs is hangin from trees,” and then included a message using the word “f****t and other anti-LGBTQ language.
Miller then posted the photos, as well as a screenshot of his Tinder profile, on Twitter and Facebook. Harcourt’s profile said he is a junior at UA and included the Greek letters for Sigma Pi fraternity, so Miller tagged the University of Alabama, the national Sigma Pi fraternity organization and the local Alabama chapter in her tweets.
— Emi Anne (@f_emi_nist) March 9, 2017
The tweet and photos quickly went viral, and the two organizations she tagged replied almost immediately via Twitter and email. UA said they initiated a “disciplinary review through the Office of Student Conduct.” Miller also spoke with UA’s Office of Student Conduct over the phone.
— The Univ. of Alabama (@UofAlabama) March 10, 2017
Sigma Pi’s national body said Harcourt was suspended from the fraternity in January and is no longer a member.
The individual who sent those messages is no longer a member of Sigma Pi. We condemn all intolerant behavior & attitudes.
— Sigma Pi Fraternity (@SigmaPi) March 9, 2017
“The feedback has been mixed,” Miller said. “Of course, as with a lot of these situations, there has been some negative feedback, but not as much as much as one would expect. So many people have been really lovely and supportive, including members of Sigma Pi, his former fraternity, and other UA students as well. It can be a little overwhelming.”
When asked what she’d like to see happen following this incident, Miller said, “I think UA needs to send a strong message about how they handle racism and homophobia from a student. I would like to see a public statement from the school and I would like him to be suspended or expelled.”
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