CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — An official with the University of Wyoming said in a statement that an investigation into racist interruptions during a virtual Black history event last week has revealed one suspect was using an internet provider in Maryland.
University spokesperson Chad Baldwin said the other four suspects used virtual private networks, which made them appear to be calling from outside the United States, the Casper Star-Tribune reported Monday.
The university’s Black Studies Center was hosting a panel discussion on Feb. 15 when panelists and attendees were interrupted by pornographic images and videos on the screen and a voice shouting racist slurs and phrases.
“This has happened at dozens of other universities in recent months,” Baldwin said. “Our security analysts for our IT department feel strongly this was a coordinated effort by people from elsewhere. And that they’re doing this all across the country.”
The university police and IT department are working with the FBI to investigate the incident, according to the statement. Administrators are now looking into more secure options for Zoom and other virtual events.
University Chief Diversity Officer Emily Monago said a subcommittee of the university’s Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion listened to members of the community last week following the incident.
Many “expressed that the university’s initial statement about the racist attack was not strong enough; noted the concerns about safety for students of color and minority groups; said there’s not enough awareness about resources and efforts underway to address our problems; and made it clear that the university must do more,” Monago said.