A group of college students who threw an off-campus coronavirus-themed party are now being investigated by their university for violating the school’s student code of conduct regarding racism.
The students, who attend the State University of New York at Albany, reportedly held a simple party, video of which was posted to the Barstool Albany Instagram account. The post has since been deleted. The video allegedly showed a bucket of Corona beers in ice and someone wearing a surgical mask. The caption for the video read, “Corona virus isn’t gonna stop anyone from partying.”
That was apparently enough to offend the Asian American Alliance, a student organization at the university, who called the party insensitive and racist, ABC7 reported. The Alliance posted a statement on its own Instagram account claiming the coronavirus “has led to not only mass stereotyping of Asian people, but also hundreds of deaths across the world.” The Alliance requested the university take several actions to address the alleged grievances:
The Dean of Student Office shall investigate this illegal student group and related UAlbany students, requiring them to delete this video and to apologize on their Instagram homepage
The Office of President shall inform all UAlbany students to stop racism and disrespectful slogans in any situation, especially coronavirus hate crime[s] against Asian students and scholars based on groundless suspicion of virus hosts. Your precaution will be essential to prevent this crime from reoccurring in New York state.
International Student and Scholar Office and Student Health Services shall take necessary actions to protect Asian students’ and scholars’ physical health and mental health.
Further, the Alliance said that diseases “that affect non-white populations are radicalized in a way that stems from the innate xenophobia of American society” and “serves to dehumanize the affected population.”
University officials on Thursday confirmed an investigation into the party, though the location of the party and names of the students being investigated were not released.
“The theme of this party was distasteful and hurtful and is not representative of UAlbany or its nearly 18,000 students,” university officials said. “Any allegations of conduct violations will be investigated and addressed through the University’s disciplinary process.”
WGY News Radio, who first reported on the investigation, said that a banner could briefly be seen in the since-deleted video that could be construed as racist.
“It’s college, where students look for any excuse to have a party. But there is also a shot of a white sheet with the word ‘virus’ and two faces. It is so quick, that if you blink, you miss it. And we missed it the first time around, and had to pause it to see more clearly. The two faces are on either side of a biohazard symbol. One has the letter X over each eye and looks like a sick face. The other is a frown, with what looks like straight lines for eyes. Is it supposed to be an Asian person with the virus? It certainly looks like it could be,” the outlet reported.
The outlet went on to suggest that the party was insensitive to those who have died but pointed out that it is not just Asian countries who are affected. The banner, however, may give validity to the complaints.