The University of North Dakota is investigating after a racist photo was apparently posted on Snapchat by three students in a school dorm.
The image was captured on the popular mobile app and then shared to Facebook, where it gained national attention.
A public Facebook post Wednesday night from a UND student alleges that her friend had left a phone in her campus dorm room when three people took a photo of themselves and wrote the caption “locked the black bitch out” before posting the image to Snapchat.
“My friend was not aware that they had done this and didn’t even realize they had put this on her snapchat story until another friend of ours pointed it out,” the Facebook post reads. “The University of North Dakota needs to take action against these students for this blatant act of racism." (Since then, the post appears to have been deleted or its status changed to private.)
After some uncertainty, UND spokesman Peter Johnson confirmed to the Star Tribune that the individuals involved are indeed students currently enrolled at the school.
The Snapchat photo gained national attention when Shaun King, a justice writer for the New York Daily News with 358,000 Twitter followers, posted it early Wednesday with the caption, "Dear University of North Dakota- your very few Black students need you to address this right away please."
According to their 2015-16 enrollment data, only 2.5 percent of UND's student body is African American, while 79 percent is Caucasian.
Once the photo went viral, the University of North Dakota and its police department released a statement Wednesday night that they were notified of the situation and are looking into it.
“What is portrayed is not part of the community values that we expound," the school wrote. "We take seriously issues related to respect for all. UND Police and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will investigate any legal or Code of Student Life violations.”
University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy released a statement on Instagram, and sent a message to students and faculty Wednesday afternoon.
“I want to make clear that whatever the intent, the message included in the photo is not consistent with UND's values,” Kennedy wrote. “I am personally shocked that anyone would be so naive as to think that this could in any way be considered a joke.”
The incident comes nearly a week after a Kansas State student was expelled for a Snapchat picture of her and a friend wearing black clay masks with a racially offensive caption. On Tuesday, a student from Belmont University in Nashville was expelled for posting a Snapchat image with a violent threat toward black NFL players who protest during the national anthem.