University of Alabama officials and leaders of a national sorority are investigating student conduct after a picture featuring racially-charged language was reportedly sent by a sorority member using Snapchat, a photo sharing app.
While Chi Omega national leaders say that the individual responsible for the photo has been removed from the Nu Beta chapter, many questions remain surrounding the image, which shows what appear to be three white women and a message that reads, "Cho O got no n*****!!!!!," text believed to be praising the sorority for not pledging any African Americans.
But there's one major problem with the message espoused in the caption: the sorority actually pledged two black women over the weekend, according to AL.com.
University of Alabama president Judy Bonner released a statement addressing the issue and acknowledging that a student used Snapchat to post "particularly offensive racial language." She confirmed that the Office of Student Conduct would be launching an investigation into the matter and that appropriate disciplinary action would follow.
Total Frat Move/Snapchat
"We are all extremely disappointed when any student uses language that is disrespectful or offensive to any segment of the UA community," Bonner wrote. "We are especially sad that this incident occurred on a day that was an exciting and happy one for the young women who participated in fall recruitment."
While the university and Chi Omega sorority seem to believe that a student acted improperly, a post on the website Total Frat Move, a blog covering college issues, claimed that the student who sent the photo was "framed" and that the photo was "Photoshopped." That post has since been removed from the website, though a cached version is still accessible.
The blog cited an email alleging that the image was photoshopped, with an unnamed individual claiming to be a web designer writing that "the image of that girl’s snap story is tampered with."
"Whoever edited the image took the ‘g’ from ‘got’ and moved it into the ‘nj’ in ‘ninjas’ (the story update actually makes perfect sense)," the email read. "If you zoom in and check the kerning of the letters then you can see that the first ‘g’ in [the N-word] was stretched the make up for the wide empty space where the ‘n’ used to be and that the second ‘g’ was kept at the original dimensions."
Some versions of the image do appear to have two different sized "g" letters in the derivative of the N-Word that is displayed.
In a separate email, someone close to a student at the university also told the website Total Frat Move that he believes autocorrect was the culprit.
"The snap was, apparently, an auto correct from the word "ninjas" to [the N-word]. Now, you may know what 'ninjas' means in sororstitute slang but, before she explained it to me, I had not," the individual wrote. "These so-called 'ninjas” are, after how alabama rush works, a sorority gets stuck with girl that weren’t their top picks. The reason these dumb, non proofreading chi o’s were so happy was that they got a 'perfect pledge class' this rush season."
It's unclear if these explanations hold merit, especially considering that Total Frat Move removed the blog post. The word "ninja" did not autocorrect when TheBlaze typed it into Snapchat.
In an email to TheBlaze, Rob Fox, the post's author, said he made the decision to delete the post after conflicting information came flooding into Total Frat Move.
"At the time, based on the information I had, it was impossible for me to determine whether or not it was an autocorrect fail or a photoshop job, as we received compelling cases for both," he said. "Meanwhile, the original tip I received (and ran with) about it being legitimately racist was just totally wrong ... I now believe it was, in fact, simply an autocorrect fail, but as of last night the situation was too convoluted to be sure."
Fox continued, "Considering three girls (not to mention a whole sorority) had their reputations on the line, I didn't think it was fair to anyone to leave potentially damaging and untrue information up on the site, and decided to take down the story and wait for a clearer picture to present itself."
He said that he was solely responsible for removing the post and that his response to TheBlaze was from him alone and was not being issued on behalf of Total Frat Move.
The photo has, perhaps, captured elevated attention due to a report in the Crimson White, the University of Alabama's student newspaper, last year claiming that the greek system has racial tensions and that there "remains an almost impenetrable color barrier."