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Mar 11 2017
by Katie Czerwinski

U of A Student Under Conduct Investigation After Sending Disturbing Tinder Message With N-Word

By Katie Czerwinski - Mar 11 2017

Emi Miller, a junior communications major at Hollins University in Virginia, was just about to delete her Tinder account before she received a disturbing message regarding one of the pictures included on her profile. 

The message came from Kyle Harcourt, who Emi later discovered was a student and former Sigma Pi fraternity member at the University of Alabama. The statements referred to Emi as a "n***** lovin white girl" and included other racist and homophobic remarks.

"When he first sent me just the first two messages, I was initially confused because I don't have any pictures with an African American man on my profile," Emi told Fresh U via Twitter direct message. She later realized which image he was referring to — one picturing her roommate and best friend.

Emi replied to Kyle, informing him that his use of the n-word was "actually a facet of racial violence." That didn't stop Kyle as he then commended the lynching of black people and questioned LGBT rights.

"After he continued to make racist remarks and use slurs, I couldn't ignore it or write it off as free speech since it did feel like he was threatening my roommate and myself, as a bi woman," Emi said. "I wish I could say that I was shocked, but there has been so much hatred in our country lately that I just felt resigned initially."

After Emi posted the interaction on Twitter, the University of Alabama addressed Kyle's behavior as "unacceptable" and initiated a disciplinary review. Emi has also spoken with the university's Office of Student Conduct about the situation.

Sigma Pi also condemned Kyle's actions and informed Emi that the organization terminated his membership with the fraternity in January.

"I am really grateful that the University of Alabama and Sigma Pi were so quick to respond to the tweets," Emi said. "I have seen similar situations happening around the country in the past few months, and I don't think that I've ever witnessed a school or organization respond as quickly as in this situation."

Twitter users have been quick to respond to Kyle's actions, primarily with disapproval.

Emi said the response so far has been overall supportive, although some people have defended Kyle.

"I guess at the end of the day, I just really hope this is a growing moment for everyone involved," Emi said. "I want every student at University of Alabama to feel as if they are safe from racism, homophobia and other types of bigotry in their learning environment."

Update 3/11/17

This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Kyle Harcourt was terminated from Sigma Pi fraternity before these remarks were made.

Lead Image Credit: Twitter

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Katie Czerwinski - Syracuse University

Katie Czerwinski is a senior at Syracuse University studying magazine with a minor in psychology. She is obsessed with pineapples, long naps, and cooking shows. Follow her on Instagram @katie.czerwinski or on Twitter @katieczerwinski

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