Gov. Mark Gordon issued a statement Thursday afternoon condemning a racist incident that occurred Monday during a virtual event held by the University of Wyoming’s Black Studies Center.
“I am saddened and angered that anyone would invade a constructive educational moment with such vile sentiments of hate, and adamantly condemn these atrocious actions,” Gordon said. “The degenerates who committed this act should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for their faceless cowardice and reprehensible behavior.”
A virtual Black History Month event held Monday was interrupted several times with racist and pornographic images and racial slurs. UW police said Thursday the FBI is involved in investigating the incident.
The interruption occurred during a panel discussion about the film “Black Wall Street: Before they Die!” which “explores the death of Black Wall Street from the survivors’ point of view,” according to an event description from the university.
About 30 minutes into the discussion, a pornographic image and the N-word appears on the screen.
Shortly after, a pornographic video appears, and a voice, which appears to be synthetic, can be heard saying the N-word, “KFC and watermelon,” “porch monkey” and other racial slurs and epithets.
University leadership Wednesday shared a statement condemning the incident and promised law enforcement were investigating.
“The University of Wyoming unequivocally condemns this behavior. The First Amendment may allow expression that is reprehensible, but we have a responsibility to answer it,” read the statement, signed by university President Ed Seidel, the board of trustees, vice presidents, deans and directors.
The statement added the university’s information technology office found the offensive content came from computer servers in other countries and a state on the East Coast, not from UW users.
University of Wyoming Police Chief Mike Samp said in an interview Thursday the university police are working with the FBI on the case, and that no other local law enforcement agencies are involved.
Star-Tribune staff writer Ellen Gerst contributed to this report.
Follow health and education reporter Morgan Hughes on Twitter @m0rgan_hughes