Girls pictured in Snapchat were unaware of caption, GW investigation finds

The two Alpha Phi sorority members pictured in the racially insensitive Snapchat that has circulated around campus were unaware of the social media posting and the caption until after it was posted, according to President Thomas LeBlanc in a message delivered via GW Today.

The quoted text in the caption was not actually said when the Snapchat was taken, according to LeBlanc. This is the first update of the investigation GW has had into the incident, and comes after the initial fact-finding process.

"Furthermore, the individuals pictured were unaware of the social media posting and its content until after it was posted." said LeBlanc in the message. "The picture was posted by a person who has said that they did not intend to offend others and acknowledged that the women in the picture did not know or approve of the associated caption."

LeBlanc went on to say that the image was "offensive and racially inflammatory" and has caused harm to the GW Community. As part of this message, he also indicated some changes that have been suggested will be implemented. These changes include mandatory diversity training for all incoming students, diversity training for GW staff including RA's, updating the definition of harassment in the GW student code of conduct to include non-sex based harassment, and require that the new dean of student experience has "documented leadership skills in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion a required core competency of the position."

A "GW Race in America speaker series" is also being planned, according to the message.

Over the next 45 days student and university leaders will work on the goals outlined in the message as well as come up with a more comprehensive plan. In the shorter term, LeBlanc promised a town hall within the next two weeks.

This message comes just days after students packed into the first open Student Association Senate meeting of the semester to discuss the Alpha Phi Bigotry Act, which passed the Senate unanimously. Many of the changes that LeBlanc is implementing are coming from this resolution, however there is no announcement as to whether Alpha Phi will be permitted to stay on campus, despite massive student support to expel them. LeBlanc stated that they have been in contact with Alpha Phi's national headquarters.

"I will keep the community updated and will hold a town hall with interested students in the next two weeks," LeBlanc ended the message. "I encourage your involvement as we move forward together."

Originally published on by Brandon Bish on 2.7.18.

CampusBrandon Bish