Saturday, July 13, 2024
HomeSchoolsInvestigation Continues on Gonzaga, Washington University Racist Zoom Bombings

Investigation Continues on Gonzaga, Washington University Racist Zoom Bombings

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Student minority groups from Gonzaga University and Washington State University (WSU) were recently targeted by “Zoom bombings” that contained racial and homophobic slurs and images. 

Last month, anonymous users invaded a virtual meeting of Gonzaga University’s Black Student Union. Unsuspecting students were harassed with racist taunts and received a number of inappropriate images. 

WSU had their Black Student Union and Filipino American Student Association meetings similarly invaded, which prompted a WSU Police investigation to determine those responsible. Investigations are still underway as local and federal authorities continue to work with the universities.

Zoom Bombings and Safety Measures

A number of drawbacks appeared when in-person classes migrated to online spaces during the pandemic. Students have become the subject of online harassment, being regularly targeted by Zoom bombings. This form of cyberattack uses racial, homophobic, and other violent language and content to traumatize faculty members and students. 

Apart from Gonzaga University and WSU, the West Island Black Community Association (WIBCA) also had its virtual meeting disrupted on Friday when pornographic images were shown on screen, immediately followed by unknown people using racial slurs.

These occurrences have been the most disheartening part of virtual classes according to students, educators, minority groups, and even the investigators handling the cases. Following these alarming attacks, college administrators have enforced stricter Zoom protocols and safety measures. 

According to WSU’s Black Student Union President Mikayla Makle, the union will now keep their Zoom links private and away from social media. Interested attendees must now reserve a spot using their WSU email address and once the meeting starts, they will be kept in the waiting room until they are shown to be part of the official guest list. The affected groups at Gonzaga University also called for school administrators to provide protection to traumatized students by employing therapists of color.

“The Zoom attack against BSU is the latest triggering event in yet another reminder that our efforts at Gonzaga to protect and support our students, while well-intentioned, have simply not been enough,” said Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh.

Continuous Efforts

The Spokane Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are still working on how the Zoom bombings were orchestrated. Zoom has also been cooperative in providing information for the investigation. 

Despite the availability of new information, the perpetrators haven’t been identified. According to WSU Police Chief Bill Gardner, once these culprits have been found, they can face civil and criminal penalties for their inappropriate and hateful actions.

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