Rutgers University is launching an investigation into a series of “racist and bigoted” Zoom-bombings during virtual events to commemorate Black History Month, school officials announced Friday.
The university’s Paul Robeson Culture Center and the Center for Social Justice Education & LGBTQ Communities were targeted by the Zoom-bombings during their recent online events.
“I am deeply disturbed and saddened to learn of racist and bigoted Zoom-bombings that have been occurring in the past several days during non-academic student events,” Chancellor Christopher Molloy wrote in a statement last week to the campus community.
In his statement, Molloy said the university police department is working with the school’s Office of Information Technology and the Division of Student Affairs to investigate the attacks.
Molloy also stated that the attacks are “likely part of a larger coordinated international activity.” He did not provide further details.
The Delta Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. at Rutgers also recently experienced a Zoom-bombing during a Black History Month meeting to discuss dynamic Black leaders.
Zoom-bombings have been on the rise at college campuses across the country since the start of the pandemic when schools migrated online. Last week, a “Galentine’s Day” event intended for Black sororities was hijacked by racists hackers.
This month, Penn State University Police and Public Safety announced an investigation into Zoom attacks following a series of diversity events being disrupted by racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic hate speech messages.
The Department of Justice has classified the virtual hate attacks on platforms like Zoom as a federal crime.
Rutgers students can report Zoom-bombings to the school’s online police reporting system.