Temple Police investigate messages containing racial slurs

Temple Police is currently investigating messages sent from a Temple student’s Snapchat account that contain racial slurs.

The messages were sent from junior finance major Brett Rhodeside’s Snapchat account to Entienne Williams on March 6.

Rhodeside told The Temple News he did not send the messages to Williams, but that his friends did using his account.

“Any student identified in the investigation would face appropriate intervention,” wrote Brandon Lausch, a university spokesperson, in an email to The Temple News.

In the Student Conduct Code, the first student responsibility outlined is that all students should foster an environment “free from unlawful harassment by other members of the community.”

In a statement to The Temple News, Dean of Students Stephanie Ives declined to comment on Rhodeside’s case, but said the language was offensive.

“I can say with certainty that Temple is proud of its inclusive and respectful community,” she wrote. “And although the Student Conduct Code doesn’t have a prohibition against such clearly offensive and hateful speech, a situation of this nature would be addressed appropriately through university intervention.”

Williams, who is a sophomore health care studies major at the Community College of Philadelphia and Black, posted screenshots of the messages from Rhodeside’s account on Twitter last week.

Rhodeside allegedly called Williams several racial slurs after she posted a video of herself on her Snapchat story.

“I was just pretty shocked,” Williams said. “Anything that we do, coming from an African-American woman, anything we do is a threat. It’s not fair at all.”

Williams said Rhodeside allegedly blocked her on Snapchat and other social media apps after she took screenshots of the conversation.

Temple Police has not been able to contact Williams, but has obtained the screenshots she posted on social media, said Charlie Leone, the director of Campus Safety Services.

This is the fourth bias-related incident Temple Police and the university have investigated this academic year. Last month, the Queer People of Color received an anonymous letter containing racial and homophobic slurs.

In December, fliers with racial slurs were posted around campus and at a university residence hall. Temple Police was unable to identify the person responsible for hanging the posters. In September, bananas were placed on the door of an all-Black students’ room in Morgan Hall North. The student who placed the banana on the door was later identified.

Williams’s post, which mentioned Temple’s Twitter account, received nearly 850 retweets and more than 1,000 likes. Many people, including Temple students, responded to Williams’s post on Twitter and criticized Rhodeside’s actions.

Williams said she doesn’t want Rhodeside to continue studying at Temple.

“He didn’t represent Temple at all,” she added. “He just showed that it is not very diverse at that school.”

Rhodeside, who has since deleted his social media accounts, said he was with three friends, who are not Temple students, the night the messages were sent. He said he left his phone with his friends after Williams posted the video, and his two friends sent the offensive messages to Williams.

“I would never say that to anybody,” Rhodeside said.

He added that he attempted to apologize to Williams and explain that he did not send the offensive messages.

Williams posted a screenshot of a message from an Instagram account that allegedly belongs to Rhodeside, in which Rhodeside apologized and said that his friends sent Williams the messages on Snapchat.

“I’m racist at all, and I didn’t mean for those hurtful things to be said,” he wrote. “I would never mean something like that. I was stupid to let my friend write to you.”

He told The Temple News no one will “take my side on it.”

Williams has not filed a police report with Philadelphia Police, but plans to. She said she will pursue other legal action if the university does not discipline Rhodeside for his alleged actions.

Kelly Brennan
can be reached at kelly.brennan@temple.edu Or you can follow Kelly on Twitter @_kellybrennan Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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