Racist tweet not punishable PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Staff Writer   
Friday, 11 October 2013 10:39
File photo. An audience member listens to in on a panel discussion about racism and social media on April 23, 2013 at Olscamp Hall in Bowling Green, Ohio. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The university has no options for punishing an 18-year-old who posted a racially charged tweet early this week.
Monica Moll, police chief for Bowling Green State University, told a meeting of the Not In Our Town group that the unidentified tweeter was not a student, not affiliated with BGSU, "not a member of this community."
The city prosecutor had determined no crime was committed.
The tweeter had altered a tweet sent out by the Black Student Union to make the university group look like they were anti-white.
Moll told the NIOT group that the young man is a high school friend of a student and has visited campus and that's where he picked up the idea for using the Twitter handle @PatFalcon. Moll said the friend at BGSU has disavowed the tweet.
She said she was reaching out to have a conversation with him and has talked to his father.
She said it was "a free speech issue."
"He created quite a firestorm," said Barbara Keller, the co-chair of NIOT.
The group was founded last spring in the wake of another incident of racist language on social media.
Members of the group wondered whether they needed a stronger protocol to respond to such incidents.
City Administrator John Fawcett said any protocols set up need to be coordinated with other entities including the city's Human Rights Commission.
Keller noted that if police are involved "it's absolutely critical that police be allowed to do their jobs."
Sometimes, Fawcett said, they "won't be able to say anything at all... sometimes that's perceived as a lack of action."
Juan Pimiento, the president of the Latino Student Union, said the response has "to have more punch behind it, be more forceful."
The response from the university, he said, seems "more like a PR move."
More education is the key, he said. If students had to take more courses in international or multicultural studies, they may understand the experiences of minority and underrepresented students.
Pimiento also said the university should provide more space for those students to gather on campus
Members also discussed the display of a T-shirt with text offensive to Asians on display in a shop window near campus.
Various community members, Keller said, have approached the shop's management and she said the response was "we'll take it under advisement."

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