SRU experiences second Zoom-bombing incident during Black History Month

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A second Black History Month event hosted by a Slippery Rock University student organization was the victim of a Zoom-bombing attack Thursday night.

The event, “When Black Athletes Protest,” was subjected to racist audio and video. In an email from SRU President William Behre, guests and panelists were subjected to “a song featuring violent, racial slurs; a video depicting graphic self-harm; and audio of an explicit sexual nature.”

The event was co-hosted by SRU’s History Department and the Phi Alpha Theta History Honorary Society, and was promoted on CORE and scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

Behre, along with other faculty and deans, were present during the event. Immediately after the incident was stopped, SRU’s Information and Administrative Technology Services (IATS) and university police were notified.

Like the first attack, university police are investigating the incident. They are working with the Pennsylvania State Police and FBI, according to the email.

IATS was able to trace the IP addresses of the attackers, that were found to be based in foreign countries, according to the email.

SRU’s Campus Inclusion Response Team (CIRT) held an emergency meeting shortly after the attack took place to discuss the crafting of the university’s communication.

In response to the attack, university administration will be reviewing security and policies of all virtual events.

In his email, Behre strongly condemned the attack and told the community that the university stands with them.

“It is moments and situations like this that cut deeply and create wounds that may never heal,” Behre said in the email. “With that in mind, I would ask that each of us acknowledge the harm done to the Black members of our campus community and affirm their pain.”

A Feb. 13 Poetry and Sip highlighting Black poets was targeted with a Zoom bombing that also utilized racist audio and imagery.

In response to that attack, Behre hosted a community forum to discuss the attack and how the university can support its students of color.

The university is asking witnesses of the event to reach out if they are in need of resources at the following information below:

“If you were witness to this event, are currently in need of support or resources, or would like to talk with someone about this experience, you can connect to care by completing a CARE Referral. You can also connect to the SRU Counseling Center by calling 724.738.2034. If you would rather use off-campus services, the Student Support Office can help you find a service in your local area that will fit your needs.”

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Joe is a senior communication major with concentrations in converged journalism and digital media production. This is his second year with The Rocket and first as the news editor. With a penchant for asking tough questions, his byline can be found on more than 100 articles for The Rocket including many breaking news and investigative pieces. During the hours he’s not wearing the hat of student journalist, he spends his time as a husband, father and dog owner in Slippery Rock.

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