MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas State University said an Alt-right group disrupted a KSUnite Zoom meeting Tuesday that was focusing on diversity and inclusion at K-State.
In the annual event, students and faculty normally listen to panelists talk about how to combat different forms of discrimination. This year, like most events, was virtual. And a group of people took advantage of that, not for the better.
KSUnite aims to encourage the community to talk about how to fight things like racism in an effort to make the community better.
Shortly after the public meeting started, the university said an alt-right group of about 40 people entered the meeting, distracting from the event’s purpose.
At one point, the group used faculty and students’ names while commenting on the Zoom, leading university officials to believe it was planned.
Before the event, a student with a large social media following tweeted out the link to the meeting saying, “Stand back and stand by.” The student also live-streamed himself watching the event on his own platform while the group was commenting.
K-State said it had training on how to turn off the video and chat features on the Zoom beforehand, just in case something like this happened, which they were able to do to stop the comments from coming in.
The university has not said who they think started the comments, but is looking over related social media posts to get to the bottom of it.
You can read a full statement from the university below.
“Dear students, faculty and staff,
In a year where not much has been ordinary, those who participated in this week’s KSUnite virtual sessions were able to hear extraordinary messages about diversity and inclusion. Perspectives were offered from a scholarly, practitioner and lived experience lens. Please accept the university’s heartfelt thanks for sharing personal stories and working to improve our university climate.
Due to COVID-19 the entire event was held virtually, which presented some challenges from past events. Participants faced adversity in the form of multiple significant disruptions in many of the sessions. Our moderators, hosts and technology teams deserve praise for their actions to regain control of the sessions and continue to deliver messages of progress and hope.
Our goal was to provide open, honest dialogue about issues surrounding diversity and inclusion. We heard many powerful examples that give us opportunities for personal and institutional growth. Let’s continue to build on what was shared and create more bridges of understanding and respect.
State universities have a role in creating the conditions necessary for free exchange, participation in a democracy, and graduates will leave our university with a civic-minded perspective. We commit to providing spaces (virtual and in-person) for faculty and staff to advance more equitable and inclusive teaching, research, and service. Our historically marginalized groups must be allowed to participate in all university activities free from dignitary harm or the threat of violence.
Again, we thank those who persevered and represented Kansas State University with respect and dignity. The university is reviewing the source and timeline of the disruptions and will address these in subsequent communications.”Bryan Samuel -Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Richard B. Myers – President