Earlier this week, we shared that one of our students received electronic images that contained disturbing racial overtones. The student reported this to the Marquette University Police Department, which began an investigation. University leadership sent an update to campus within hours of the incident and sent a follow-up message Wednesday.
Today, President Michael R. Lovell shared a message, saying, “The responsibility to do better lies with all of us. It especially lies with our leaders to stand up and say, we can do better…The Marquette I know is so much better than this. And I challenge all of us to do better.”
Thanks in large part to members of our campus community who came forward with information, MUPD quickly identified a subject and conducted an interview. Our administration also has launched a conduct review process. The details of that process must remain confidential because of student privacy laws, but we take this issue very seriously; disciplinary actions range from probation to expulsion.
Let us be clear: Incidents of this nature are simply not acceptable at Marquette University or anywhere in civilized society. We will swiftly investigate any and all reports of racial bias and enact the university’s disciplinary process against those responsible for such reprehensible behavior.
An unfortunate, unintended result of this incident is confusion over who is pictured in the original image. The identities of all four individuals in the image have been confirmed, and only one is a Marquette student. That student has accepted responsibility for the incident. Some social media messages however, have mistakenly identified a second individual as also being a Marquette student. Marquette leadership urges the campus community to avoid speculation, which can lead to undue assumptions and safety issues.
Given the seriousness of this situation, we are responding to all new information brought forward from the campus community. We will continue to proactively update the Marquette community.