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Outrage after white man harasses black students on campus

UNDER INVESTIGATION: The incident took place at Columbia College in New York (Image: @aalanasir/Twitter)

FOOTAGE OF a white man shouting at a group of black students at New York’s Columbia College has caused outrage.

In the short clip, a white male student can be seen raising his voice at the group and saying that white people are “the best thing that ever happened to the world”.

Columbia College has denounced racism in the aftermath of the incident, which took place on December 9, and described the event as “alarming”.

A statement from three of the college’s deans, addressed to the undergraduate students, read: “We are alarmed at the rise of incidents of racism and hate speech in our world today. It is more important than ever that we continually demonstrate our core values and restate our commitment to a diverse, inclusive community on campus. At Columbia, we stand firmly against white supremacist language and violence. As we said last week, our community will not waver in its support for those of any faith, race, gender, sexual orientation, background or identity.”

The college has revealed that the incident is under investigation by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and assured students that the matter will undergo a thorough investigation, which will include interviews with witnesses.

The footage also captures the student, who has been identified as physics undergraduate Julian von Abele, saying: "We invented science and industry, and you want to tell us to stop because oh my God, we're so bad. We saved billions of people from starvation."

He adds: "White people are the best thing that ever happened to the world. We are so amazing. I love myself, and I love white people.”

The university’s black students’ organisation has demanded that the college pursues disciplinary action against the student who it says has “proven himself to be a threat to the safety and wellbeing of students of colour” on the campus.

It has also called on the end of term exam period for affected students to be extended stating that they have suffered “increasing amounts of isolation and stress” as a result of what happened; for increased funding to be given to initiatives that focus on recruiting black staff members, with the black alumni council and the black identity student groups having an involvement in this process, and for the funding to be used to fill vacancies in the university’s newly created African American and African diaspora studies department.

The Columbia University Black Students’ Organization also blamed the university for fostering a “hostile environment” for black students.

“This institution’s history of enabling hateful sentiments that targets marginalized students is storied. Columbia university promotes and idolises this ideology of Western imperialism through its educational canon. The core curriculum propagates continued tolerance of hateful speech. Last year, a series of white supremacists were invited to speak on campus despite vehement opposition from student groups,” the Columbia University Black Students’ Organization said in a statement.

Von Abele has since responded to the video and said it "does not show my true beliefs", The Daily Beast has reported.

He told the publication: “I am not a white supremacist or racist, nor do I subscribe to any views that support that ideology. I unequivocally denounce all groups that support racism."

You can watch the footage here

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