Responses to Blatant Racism at Penn State

Photo posted by @mcoswalt on Unsplash

“It is deeply troubling that as a society, we today are still facing racism,” Penn State tweeted as a response to some extremely ignorant actions showed by a Penn State student identified by other online users as Sean Setnick.

*Disclaimer* The footage below contains explicit and hateful language and may trouble some viewers.

Deeply troubling is not a strong enough term to describe the reprehensive actions of this individual. He is seen in a video recently circling social media, driving by peaceful protestors yelling hateful things such as the N-word and threatening them with the Klu Klux Klan, or the KKK. The KKK is an extreme right-wing organization dating back to the mid 1800s. Their values are based within white supremacy and “purifying” society, as they murdered many black people and allies.

Statements made in the video are in response to Black Lives Matter protests after George Floyd, an innocent black man, was murdered in the streets by police officers on May 25. After all of the unjustified black lives taken throughout the years by the police, many Americans decided to act on the need for change.

An anonymous user shared a petition calling for Penn State to expel Setnick, exposing that his father is also allegedly a Penn State Alum. The user mentions the video was filmed in Aston, PA, around three hours away from State College. They also note, “These actions are in direct violation of the Honor Code. The disgusting display of blatant racism should not be tolerated by anyone, especially the university.” The petition launched two days ago and now has over 15,000 supporters.

The video also gained the attention of the PSU Black Caucus and the Penn State Chapter of the NAACP. The organizations released a statement calling for Setnick’s expulsion, citing that “Penn State has a duty to protect its black community.” Many Instagram users flocked the comments to tag Penn State and the admissions office with over 1,000 messages.

Penn State stands for inclusivity, diversity and equity. These same ideas should be valued by their students as well. The University released multiple statements on Twitter, although it is unclear whether they have taken action against Setnick, as they are still investigating.

Photo posted by @penn_state on Twitter

Looking at the Black Lives Matter movement, the necessity to be actively anti-racist and educated is clear. Students with this behavior deserve to be called out by peers and they must deal with those consequences. There is no place at Penn State for hate or racist values, and those who believe there is must be corrected.

800-560-1637 or is the place to report an act of intolerance at Penn State such as the one written about above. VALLEY stands for speaking up against injustice and doing the right thing.


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