Late on Tuesday, Feb. 7 students in the University of Michigan’s Engineering School received racial and anti-semitic emails from a phony account, going by the name of J. Alex Halderman. The real J. Alex Halderman is a professor in the School of Engineering but said he did not send the emails.
According to the Daily Mail the first two posts read “Hi n*****s, I just wanted to say that I plan to kill all of you. White power! The KKK has returned!!! Heil Trump!!!!”
And the third email read “Hi you f*****g filthy jews, I just wanted to say the SS will rise again and kill all of your filthy souls. Die in a pit of eternal fire! Sincerely, Dr. Alex Halderman,”
The FBI is currently looking into the emails, but has yet to find the people or person behind them. In response to these emails The Students4Justice group at UofM posted a list of demands for marginalized students on campus, and organized an emergency sit-in at the Union; staying until it closed at 2 a.m.
The demands made were as follows:
1. Acknowledge our humanity and address us– Muslim, Jewish, Black, Arab, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized students on campus– in person on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at the Michigan Union.
2. Declare solidarity with students of color and marginalized students, as well as with those same students at Eastern Michigan University and other schools in the nation who experience racism and anti-Blackness on campus.
3. Create a protocol that is more accessible for the entire campus community to be informed about bias incidents. We have the right to know about these incidents.
4. Fulfill the remaining demands of the #BBUM Movement that was presented in 2013
5. Create a permanent designated space on central campus for Black students and students of color to organize, and do social justice work. This is not the same as Trotter Multicultural Center, because we want a space solely dedicated to community organizing and social justice work specifically for people of color.
This article has many parallels to platos ring of gyges. First off, people use the internet all the time to troll people. They think they can get away with saying whatever they want, without facing any retribution from their actions.
This is what happened at UofM this past week. Whoever created the phony email account and sent the emails thought that they could get away with it. And they have so far…
Hopefully, the FBI will be able to apprehend this person soon, and show them that they cannot use the internet as a way hide from the consequences of their actions.
Sending racist and anti-Semitic emails to fellow students can not be tolerated, and frankly the University of Michigan needs to do more to limit this type of behavior on the internet.