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Racist Attack Disrupts Virtual Graduation

May 11, 2020

Oklahoma City University’s virtual graduation ceremony on Saturday was disrupted by a “hate-filled attack” from an unknown person who displayed racist and offensive language, the Methodist university reported. KFOR, an Oklahoma City-based television station affiliated with NBC, reported that someone broadcast a racial slur and swastika as a student gave a blessing at the virtual ceremony, which was hosted via the online meeting platform Zoom.

So-called Zoombombers have launched a series of such attacks, causing disruption of classes and other educational events that have been moved online to the Zoom platform due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Oklahoma City president Martha Burger expressed outrage on Twitter about the attack and said the university had reported the incident to federal and state authorities. “We are deeply hurt and saddened by the pain that has been inflicted upon our community,” she wrote. “The Class of 2020 has been champions of diversity and inclusion, and we will continue to show love and support to each other as a university family in the aftermath of this hate.”

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Elizabeth Redden

Elizabeth Redden, Senior Reporter, covers general higher education topics, religion and higher education, and international higher education for Inside Higher Ed. She has more than a decade of experience as an education journalist. She holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.

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