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U. of Rhode Island may expel student who allegedly posted racist message to NFL player; school has offered counseling to all students

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Miami Dolphins defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

The University of Rhode Island may expel a student accused of posting a racist message on social media directed toward an NFL player, the Providence Journal reported.

What are the details?

The Instagram message was posted Sunday after a game in London between the Miami Dolphins and the Jacksonville Jaguars, the paper said. The Jaguars won the game 23-20 on a 54-yard field goal as time expired.

The Journal added that the post has since been taken down and — citing sports websites — a tweet from Dolphins defensive lineman Emmanuel Ogbah, which shared the message directed toward him, also has been taken down.

"I normally ignore stuff like this but this is uncalled for!" Ogbah said in his tweet regarding the message directed toward him, according to the Palm Beach Post.

According to ESPN's Marcel Louis-Jacques, Ogbah said he deleted the tweet containing racist message because he didn't want to be a distraction: "I just wanted to show those keyboard warriors that you can't do that, we're still human."

'Deeply committed to anti-racism'

Marc Parlange, URI's president, issued a statement Sunday saying "the university learned today of an offensive, unacceptable, and racist comment posted to social media today, allegedly by one of our students. This language is abhorrent and has no place in a community that is deeply committed to anti-racism."

Parlange's statement added that "given the significance of this issue, the university has taken immediate action and referred the matter to the University student conduct process for review."

Kathy Collins, URI's vice president of student affairs, told the Journal the school can't share information about the student pending the results of its investigation.

However, she added to the paper that the accused can accept responsibility for the act — but if that doesn't happen, a hearing is held which may involve a panel of university members which will rule on whether policies were violated.

The Journal said sanctions can range from a warning to expulsion.

Counseling offered to students

Mary Grace Almandrez, URI's chief diversity officer, told the paper her office has invited all students to contact her department if they need counseling or any other types of support.

"We heard that students appreciated that our most senior leader issued a statement so quickly," Almandrez added to the Journal. "They understood this was a campus who took these kinds of things seriously."

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