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Black students react to UA student who used N-word on Instagram post

January 19, 2018 GMT

A University of Alabama student who used the N-word on her Instagram account is no longer on campus, according to school officials.

That didn’t stop leaders from several African-American student groups from organizing a protest and issuing a set of demands to university officials.

On Tuesday night, videos surfaced on social media of the student, Harley Barber, using the n-word several times. She also stated that she was a member of Alpha Phi sorority in the videos as well. Barber posted the videos to her Instagram account, one of them shared on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.

Both the sorority and the school said Barber was no longer a member.

“The actions of this student do not represent the larger student body or the values of our university, and she is no longer enrolled here,” said Stuart R. Bell president of the University of Alabama.

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The president said in a statement, “We hold our students to much higher standards, and we apologize to everyone who has seen the videos and been hurt by this hateful, ignorant and offensive behavior . . . “This is not who we are; it is unacceptable and unwelcome here at UA. These types of incidents affect community members differently.”

In the first video, Barber is at a sink where she turns the water off, stating: “We do not waste water…because of the poor people in Syria. We don’t waste water. I love how I act like I love Black people because I (expletive) hate (n-word) so that’s really interesting but I just saved the (expletive) (n-word) by shutting that water off.”

In the second video, she addresses the backlash and threats to turn her into her sorority officials. “(N-word) (n-word) (n-word). I don’t care if it’s Martin Luther King Day. I’m in the South now (expletive) so everybody can (expletive) off. I’m from New Jersey so I can say (n-word) as much as I want.”

In response to the video, leaders of several African-American student groups issued a set of demands to university officials which included email notifications within 36 hours of racially driven hate crimes on campus; and signatures from students on a diversity awareness statement.

A protest took place Wednesday afternoon starting at the Ferguson Student Center and ending at Rose Administration Building.

“I was disturbed, but I wasn’t surprised,” said Teryn Shipman, a junior. “I think that’s kind of the norm with the students here, nobody was really surprised that it happened because it happens so often. Racial slurs and discrimination and inequality on campus is kind of the norm here so I was sad, but not surprised.”

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Bell said in his statement that students “have my commitment and the commitment of our leadership team to sustain progress and address directly any issues that arise . . . I know you join me in taking a stand against this and all reprehensible behavior.

“As members of this community, we are a family and this is our home. Everyone has a right to feel safe and welcome here,” he wrote.

Christine Taylor, vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Dr. David Grady, vice president of Student Life, heard from the students. Taylor assured them that the university would address the matter and she would meet with students to follow up.

Sophomore, Jhamal Mathis, who led a prayer after the protest, said, “I think the history of African Americans and Civil Rights has to be respected enough for us in this new generation to want to continue that and progress it even more.”