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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

USC Campus Responds To Racial Slur

USG President Rini Sampath's Facebook post about racism on campus is addressed by the USC community.

USG President Rini Sampath took to social media when she experienced racism on campus.

A Facebook post from Sampath relates her experiences walking through The Row following Saturday’s USC-Stanford game with a friend when a fraternity member shouted “you Indian piece of s***” and threw a drink at them.

Dr. Varun Soni, USC Dean of Religious Life, said that the campus is responding to the racism Sampath experienced on an individual basis and a larger basis, starting with Sampath's case.

"On this specific incident, we're working with Rini to put forth a formal complaint and it'll go through a judicial process through student affairs," Soni said. "And there is a process in play and we have to wait for that investigation process to play itself out."

Soni also said that the larger campus climate toward racism is an issue that needs to be addressed.

“What I found is that not a lot of people report incidences like this,” Soni said. “My hope is that Rini’s example and her courage and sharing her story with all of us will empower other students to also share their story.”

The more the University knows about the incidents of racism on campus, the better equipped they are to move forward, Soni said.

“My hope is that this is an opportunity for other people who might’ve had similar experiences to share their experiences,” Soni said. “To feel empowered to share their experiences. And to know that they can do so in a confidential way.”

USC student Lena Tavitian said that she thinks that Sampath's Facebook post focused too much on the incident and not much on what the community can do to move forward from it. Tavitian said she thinks Sampath should've called for a town hall meeting to address racism on campus.

"I think that her Facebook post was good in raising awareness on campus of the discrimination that happens," Tavitian said. "The status could've been phrased differently, [though]. It was too long."

Vice President for Student Affairs Ainsley Carry sent out an email to the USC campus community Tuesday evening regarding the incident.

“We urge anyone who has experienced bias or a hate crime to report the incident and give the university an opportunity to respond,” the letter read. “Although the constitutional right to free speech protects much hateful and bigoted speech, we expect all students to uphold our Principles of Community, which include respect for diverse beliefs and backgrounds as one of our highest ideals.”

The letter was signed by both Carry and Sampath.

“It is when we act in unity to combat such incidents that we send the strongest message that there is no place at USC for intolerance and bigotry,” the letter stated.

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