An anti-Asian text message sent by a female student over a year ago has reportedly put the Eagle Rock-based Occidental College in hot water this week.
The text, which stated that “all Asian people need to die,” was originally sent in late 2020 but was only reported last October or November, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Occidental Junior Anaise Nugent received the text message from a friend, according to the Times. She chose not to report it at first, saying she hoped to give her friend a second chance.
That friend, however, allegedly went on to make other discriminatory remarks, claiming that Black athletes were taking away opportunities from people like herself.
Knowledge of the text was initially confined to campus administration and officials of Nugent’s sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, to which the offender had also belonged. But on Feb. 2, someone reportedly posted the thread to Instagram, according to the Times.
The news has since sparked complaints over what critics perceived as a lack of timely and sufficient response to the incident. In a campus-wide email sent Feb. 3, Occidental College President Harry J. Elam Jr. reportedly condemned the texts but explained that a state law protects students’ freedom of speech at private schools.
Following protests from students, Elam eventually announced on Tuesday that the student in question is no longer enrolled — and that she has “expressed remorse and regret for her actions,” as per the Times. The university’s vice president of communications and institutional initiatives, Marty Sharkey, however, could not confirm to the Times why the student had left the school.
Elam has also vowed to host forums and anti-bias educational programming.
The Kappa Alpha Theta chapter also faced backlash after it reportedly expelled the student and subsequently faced opposition from its national leaders who stated members cannot be punished for actions committed prior to entering the organization. The local chapter is now reportedly considering disbanding.
Students have also taken to social media to voice their outrage and concerns. Twitter user @losangelesriver, a senior, started a thread that accused Occidental of being “racist.”
David Kim, a Democratic candidate running to represent California’s 34th Congressional District, also criticized the administration’s response.