A University of New Hampshire sorority is facing considerable backlash after video emerged showing members repeating the N-word as they sing along to a Kanye West song.
The video, originally posted to Snapchat, features dozens of girls in the Alpha Phi sorority — none of whom appear to be African-American — loudly crooning the lyrics to “Gold Digger” while the 2005 hit plays in the background.
The footage was then published to the All Eyes on UNH Facebook page, which was created to “expose injustices” on the university’s campus.
“The girls sing the n-word without thinking of the implications,” the video post reads. “This is a showcase of ignorance and that the Panhellenic Council should do better in combating racism. The first step is addressing willful ignorance.”
The university’s Director of Media Relations, Erika Kratz, said the Alpha Phi members will not be disciplined, though she said the university believes the members displayed “poor judgment.”
Kratz originally told the New Hampshire news station NH1that the incident was “under review,” but she changed her tune in a subsequent statement Thursday.
“The university statement suggesting there would be an investigation and possible disciplinary action was not accurate,” Kratz said. “The students have apologized and will play an active role in working to improve our campus culture as we move forward. The university has a strong commitment to the First Amendment. We also have an obligation and a role to play in helping students understand how their words and actions might impact other members of our community and we will continue to work to ensure every member of our community feels respected.
Many viewers of the video were offended by the actions of those involved, and condemned their behavior in the comments section of the Facebook post.
“If you know the lyrics so well, then you should know when the word is coming up and literally shut your mouth. Not a word for us (white people) to use under any circumstances,” wrote a user named Sofia Ford. “Its ignorant and insensitive. Literally, the n-word should never leave your mouth.”
Another poster named James Byrne shared a similar message.
“One of the easiest things to do in the whole wide world is to not say the n-word,” he wrote. “So easy.”
Some others, however, did come to the defense of the Alpha Phi members in the video.
“These girls clearly were not intentionally trying to degrade people of color because of one word sung,” wrote Gabby Razz. “They’re college girls having fun celebrating their new members of the sorority.”
“Gold Digger” is one of West’s most well-known songs and also features Jamie Foxx, who provides vocals to the chorus.