Controversial Snapchat stories increase conversations of racial injustice

Photo courtesy of Kirby Student Center

Photo courtesy of Kirby Student Center

Photo courtesy of Kirby Student Center

Photo courtesy of Kirby Student Center

On Tuesday, April 17, Kirby Student Center apologized for a Snapchat story that was posted on their geostory. Kirby made it aware that they had no part in posting the story and that they had no control over the post. A different story was also posted on the University’s geostory.

The Snapchat story posted on KSC’s geostory was a picture of a poster for Islam awareness week. The photo had a caption that said “What’s next … build a bomb workshop?” Another story was shared on the UMD geostory of a picture of a poster stating “Unapologetic, undocumented, united we dream unafraid” with the caption “Should we call US Immigration and customs enforcement.”

Student Association sent out an email to the student body explaining the geostory.

“To alleviate any confusion, these geostories are not managed by the University of Minnesota Duluth or Kirby Student Center and therefore, they don't have any elevated power to remove content,” the email said.

Jeni Eltink, director of Kirby Student Center, explained that students brought the snapchat to their attention.

“The only way to combat speech like this is with more speech,” Eltink said.

Lynne Williams, director of Marketing and Public Relations, said administration is glad there are conversations happening.

“As far as the administration and our response, it’s important for people to report these and we appreciate when they do,” Williams said. “That’s good. We need to continue doing that.”

Muslim Student Association is putting on Islam awareness week to answer questions about their religion and practices. MSA board member Ayah Abuserrieh believes that they are who they are and encourage students to come to their table to ask questions.

“I wasn’t too upset,” Abuserrieh said. “I understand the Muslim population within Duluth is very small so I understand that a lot of people don’t really know about what we believe in and what we stand for.”

Abuserrieh understands that that there will always be confusion.

“I was really understanding about it,” Abuserrieh said. “At that moment I just wanted to find more ways to try to spread Islam awareness without preaching anything and without trying to convert anybody.”

Maleehah Ali, president of MSA, knows that everyone comes from a different background.

“I can always face hate,” Ali said. “I just try to be the best person I can be.”

MSA feels thankful for the support they have gotten from campus officials.

“We’re not different,” Abuserrieh said. “We’re not different at all.”

A list of demands were announced at a Speak Out for Justice Rally in Kirby Student Center on April 20 for those who participate in racial injustice:

• Students caught being discriminatory against other students should be required to take cultural diversity courses.

• Freshman seminars should be mandatory and include a section that focuses on diversity and inclusivity.

• Require faculty to take diversity training.

• Require all students to take diversity and inclusivity studies.

• Ensure the university responds more quickly to issues of discrimination.

The university has not yet publicly addressed these demands. Conversations between speak out organizers and Chancellor Lendley Black have been scheduled following the speak out.