A message from President Barron on recent hate-filled Zoom incidents

January 30, 2021

Dear Members of Black Caucus and all within our Penn State Community:

The recently reported ‘Zoom bombings’ of various meetings and lectures – in which hate-filled, racist and antisemitic language was spewed and specifically targeted at people of color and other populations – is beyond disgusting and sadly another reminder of the ongoing work that must continue if we are to end incidents motivated by hate.

The traumatizing experience endured by your group and others has been upsetting and deeply hurtful to many. Please know that University leadership continues to stand in solidarity with you and all individuals who are victims of hate and prejudice as we publicly denounce these disgusting attacks and diligently pursue ways to find and hold accountable the perpetrators. These activities have been reported to police, as well as to Zoom, to investigate and hold the perpetrators accountable. 

The vile language, images and vulgar content that are characteristics of these coordinated online attacks reflect broader social challenges and ongoing problems within our community and our nation at large. For me, these types of troubling activities serve to strengthen my goal of creating a more inclusive community and certainly underscore the need for continued work together on initiatives like the recent revisions to our Student Code of Conduct.

It is our goal to work with students, faculty and staff to educate all within our community about the importance of equity, inclusion and justice, and the need for more action to make Penn State a more welcoming place. While our path forward will be challenging, it is my hope that together we will model inclusion and anti-racism on every campus and become a national leader in higher education in these efforts.

Again, we stand with you in ending racism, bias and hate and I pledge to continue our work toward bettering our campus, our nation and our world.

Eric J. Barron

President, Penn State

Last Updated January 30, 2021