Members of the community and Humboldt State stand at the Arcata Plaza to demand that more be done by the school in response to racism happening on and around campus on June 10. | Photo by Thomas Lal

Racist Social Media Post Leads to Student Suspensions

Two Humboldt State University Students are Suspended from Campus Organizations

Two Humboldt State University Students are Suspended from Campus Organizations

A video depicting three Humboldt State University students using the N-word multiple times and bullying a student’s skin was posted to Instagram. HSU’s administration released an official statement suspending two of the students from participating in their campus organizations.

The video was posted to an Instagram account run by HSU student, Victoria,“Vicky,” Ah-You. She posted the video June 3, the day it was sent to her from a friend, who preferred to remain anonymous. Ah-You stated that the video was recorded prior to her post and hesitated when originally sent it.

“I can’t reveal my source but a friend of mine sent it[the video] to me to use my platform to speak. She was too afraid to use her own platform,” Ah-You said. “I believe the video was made at the end of 2019 but it was never spoke on because people felt uncomfortable.”

Ah-You’s intention behind posting the video was to expose the behavior occurring towards people of color in Humboldt County.

“I released the video because I am tired of being silent myself and I know a lot of my brothers and sisters, Black and of color, out here at Humboldt University are afraid as well,” Ah-You said. “So I released the video to make a solid statement that we won’t stand for it no longer.”

Marley Peri, William Blohm and Vincenzo Jardino were the students shown in the racist video. Peri and Blohm participated in extracurricular activities, such as HSU Spirit Squad and the Chi Phi fraternity. Both were suspended from further participation.

After the video was posted, Peri and Blohm deleted their social media accounts after being tagged and identified as the people responsible for the racist behavior.

“If I’m being honest, I understand why the students took down their social media accounts. It caused a lot of outrage,” Ah-You said. “They received a lot of threats and I didn’t put that out there for them to receive threats. I put that out there for them to be checked. I think it was very cowardly to take down their accounts because if you’re going to make a creative video stating those racial slurs, you should be willing to stand behind it and stand on it.”

Ah-You stated that Peri posted an apology on Twitter but believes that’s not enough. Ah-You and her friends have also reached out to HSU Spirit Squad and Chi Phi fraternity but got no response from them either.

The current consequences for the students is suspension from campus activities. Ah-You believes the students deserve harsher punishment. She feels that HSU needs to do more to show their support to their students of color.

“Their actions send a statement out loud whether they know it or not. They do not stand with us in solidarity and they do not support my Black brothers and sisters out here.”

Victoria Ah-You

“If you’re asking me if I think the students should be expelled, I do,” Ah-You said. “This is not the first rodeo. I don’t know these students but I can understand a mistake but just as my Brown brothers and sisters and my Black community has to stand behind our mistakes, they need to stand behind theirs too.”

Ah-You is disappointed in HSU administration’s efforts to combat the social media post. She believes the current handling of the situation is not enough and doesn’t justify the severity of pain this video has caused the community.

“Their actions send a statement out loud whether they know it or not. They do not stand with us in solidarity and they do not support my Black brothers and sisters out here,” Ah-You said. “It’s been an ongoing issue. This video is just part of it. It’s been going on forever. I’ve been out here going on seven years and it’s just been going.”

HSU Vice President of Enrollment Management Dr. Jason Meriwether commented on the issue stating that the recent response from the student body and Arcata community is acknowledged by administration especially due to the current Black Lives Matter movement happening within our country. However with the investigation still ongoing, not much can be said.

“I understand the deep sense of hurt and pain caused by racist systems, language, and behaviors,” Meriwether said in an email. “Our students and campus community feels this right now due to the current national landscape, the very real history of racism, and even more from having this happen within our campus community. I cannot address the specifics of the current investigation or ongoing conduct process beyond the statement.”

Currently, the two students remain suspended from campus organizations. Micaela Harris, an HSU student athlete, unhappy with the current consequences, organized a petition on demanding the students be expelled from school. A week after the petition was created, more than 21,000 people have signed. That’s more than double the size of HSU’s student body.

“The goal behind it[the petition] is to show HSU that this type of behavior should not ever be tolerated,” Harris said in an email. “High schools are expelling their students for doing the same thing, yet a university isn’t? Humboldt is one of the cheaper universities to go to so this means it is extremely diverse. It should be a safe place for students of color and this type of behavior should not be tolerated.”

Meriwether has confirmed that HSU administrators are aware of the petition and are taking it into account with the ongoing investigation.

HSU AS President Jeremiah Finley responded to the recent incident, acknowledging the petition and expressing his outrage and sympathy with fellow HSU students who feel the suspension is not enough of a consequence.

“I would say I’m outraged as well, and their outrage is valid,” Finley said in an email. “As the Leader of the Student union, I often try to understand the diverse opinions of our students before inserting my own, but so for me, it is clear from the outcry and petition going around that the vast majority of students will not tolerate this type of behavior here at HSU.”

Finley elaborated on the enhanced responsibility and duty of students who partake in extracurricular campus activities and organizations, stating that students are held to high standards when they choose to participate.

“Students in organizations around campus are held to a higher standard,” Finley said in an email. “From clubs to our Greek Orgs, sports teams and Associated Students. Still, these students and their situation exceed the internal workings of their organization, and the final outcome needs to be resolved at the HSU level.”

Finley believes that the responsibility of the Spirit Squad and Chi Phi fraternity is to keep their participants and members in check. Such as monitoring their behavior and attitude towards others, as it not only represents their organization and its values but HSU’s as well, both on and off campus.

“The responsibility that falls on them[HSU organizations] is not condoning it in any way, as well as ensuring that the atmosphere they have doesn’t make it possible for that type of behavior to occur,” Finley said in an email. “Finally calling out any type of microaggressions and racist remarks where they can.”

Both HSU Spirit Squad and the Chi Phi fraternity failed to respond to requests to make a comment.

The recent social media frenzy has also stirred up racial tensions happening within HSU and the Arcata community, specifically the memory of the Josiah Lawson case. Protests, public demonstrations and marches have been the community’s response to the exposure of the racist behavior.

Share This Post

More Stories

Nina G uses comedy to start conversations

During the virtual comedy event held by the SDRC, Nina Ghiselli tells her story and emphasizes the importance of student disability resources within schools.

It’s not just the Capitol Police

As the world watched from their televisions on January 6, we witnessed scenes unfold before our eyes that were, to many, unimaginable: supporters of President Trump swarmed the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, then proceeded to break in and

The San Jose State University Football Team Comes to Humboldt

On a day’s notice from administration, the SJSU football team spends a week and a half in Humboldt practicing because their county did not allow it. Students react to their presence on campus in the midst of a pandemic. Directed

Homelessness in Humboldt, CA

This is the first trailer of a homeless documentary created by HSU students. We have spent months filming and will continue to film throughout the next year. Follow the heartbreaking stories of the homeless community around Humboldt county and the

Thrifty Arcata

Taking a tour of the local thrift shops in Arcata during the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed and produced by Skylar Gaven.

House Plants Generate Peace and Meaning During the Pandemic

Three different people with the same love for plants! House plants have become quite popular these days especially since we’re all basically stuck inside during the pandemic. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but these beautiful green oxygen-makers provide more

Prop 22 represents political favoritism of money over workers’ rights

California’s passing of proposition 22 on Nov. 5 represents a frustrating history of workers’ rights being trampled by the overwhelming influence of greed in politics.  This proposition forces app-based workers to be classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. This

Remembering Evelyn Andrews 10 months after her passing

By Katelyn Dendas It has been 10 months since my friend, teammate and freshman year dorm mate, Evelyn Andrews, passed away. I don’t remember what the grief counselor said or what transpired after that Monday, but I do remember arriving

Protestors seek to defund HSUPD

Two local, activist organizations work together to stage a sit-in against Humboldt State’s police department.

Getting stuck on the Trump train

Writer Anthony Aragon details his experience of accidentally joining a pro-Trump car rally.

Justin Turner exposes the World Series to COVID-19

Justin Turner didn’t need to be the story in the wake of the Dodgers’ first World Series victory in 32 years. Instead here we are, wondering what sort of, if any, punishment Major League Baseball will decide to hand down

Four more years of fear

News Editor Carlos Holguin explains why he is worried about the next four years.

Dismal democracy

The Lumberjack editorial staff comments on America’s flawed electoral system As the world watches the United States 2020 election results, waiting for our pseudodemocratic process to churn out a new president, historically unprecedented voting methods misrepresents the reported Election Day

The Mario triple pack invokes a nostalgia attack

When I was a child, the first video game system I owned was a Nintendo 64. Among the games I played was Super Mario 64. I played it all the time and when I wasn’t playing it, I was lying

Women’s lacrosse drops their competitive season

Greta Roberts, president and player of Humboldt State University’s women’s lacrosse team, made the decision with her coach and teammates to cancel the upcoming spring season. The team decided that not being able to recruit in the fall would be

Dobby’s proposition opinions

Haven’t voted yet? Well, you’re running out of time. Here’s a quick rundown of California’s propositions on the ballot this year

Corporations buy out propositions

In a series of general and misleading advertisements, corporate backers of Propositions 22 and 23 show their grubby hands

CDOR continues virtually

The Campus and Community Dialogue On Race returns covering global justice for Black Lives.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Local food management practices of the Tolowa Dee-ni, Yurok and other indigenous peoples.

Humboldt State Admin attempts to discredit the Lumberjack

***A Lumberjack editorial represents both the majority opinion of the student newspaper’s editorial board, nine editors, as well as the overwhelming majority of Humboldt State University’s student body. Collectively, an editorial echos, embodies and advocates for community beliefs.*** Insensitive communications

Music of the Moment 6

21 Savage and Metro Boomin drop a classic with “Savage Mode II”

Spartans arrive at HSU despite campus concerns

***Editor’s note: SJSU football program was tested in congruence with Mountain West conference guidelines*** The Spartans have arrived and this time they’re not carrying spears or shields. Instead the San Jose State football team stepped onto the Humboldt State campus

Music of the Moment 5

After shooting Megan Thee Stallion, Tory Lanez cancels himself

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

Comparisons between episodes of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone and our own dismal reality

Music of the Moment 4

YoungBoy Never Broke Again dodges the sophomore slump with his new album “Top.”

Self-Care Cuts

Changing your hair to change your life

HSU Seaweed Farm sets sail

The first commercially-approved seaweed farm in California will be on the map.

Music of the Moment 3

For better or worse, Big Sean is likely gone for good.

More Layers, More Protection?

Humboldt State demands double masking on campus, does more layers equal more protection?

The Ethnic Studies Bill is a Blessing

Ethnic Studies will thankfully become mandatory for all California State University students – as it should be.

The Complex Interface of Humans and Wildfires

How fire suppression is a mixed bag in Humboldt County Every fire season, blankets of smoke roll over Humboldt County. Here on the coast, that’s as close to wildfires as some of us get. But our practice of fire suppression

Defund HSU’s Police Department

Incidents of racism from the former UPD Chief, past examples of excessive force from current officers and a shrinking university budget.

How Not To Be Bitten By A Kitten

Please prepare to be prey Congratulations, a baby feline has recently come into your life. If they’re anywhere from 2-18 months, they bite. They see you as prey. Because you are prey. You always have been. You always will be.

Graduating Into Uncharted Waters

HSU graduates attempt to navigate a world turned upside-down by COVID-19 In May, Humboldt State University graduated hundreds of students, as it does every year. Unlike past years, graduates didn’t get to shake hands with their respective dean and receive

HSU Cultural Center Budget Slashed

Associated Students leaves student body devastated after significant reductions in cultural center’s budget.

All aboard the plague ship

Unprecedented times are met with normalized behavior, HSU puts students and community members at higher risk after reopening campus and student housing.

Music of the Moment

The hip-hop community rallies behind the Black Lives Matter Movement

Inside the Immune System

How the body uses multiple levels of defense against foreign intruders

Catcalling Can’t Continue

Verbal harassment toward women is about control and the assertion of gender discrimination

Major League Marijuana

Why I don’t think marijuana is everything it’s cracked up to be in baseball

Pigs Compost on Campus

CCAT tries to reduce HSU’s food waste footprint through new pig program