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ECU Theta Chi member speaks out about racist social media post

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 9:08 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -An ECU Greek life member linked to a racist social media post has had his name cleared following an arrest by Greenville Police.

In August, police began investigating a post on the app ‘Yik Yak’ that invited people to a Theta Chi rush party that stipulated “No blacks.” The name and phone number of ECU Theta Chi Chapter member, Austin Hunter, were attached to the post.

“It’s caused a lot of stress and anxiety,” Hunter said. “To be accused of something that I didn’t do, that really sucks. My name and number were posted in the college newspaper, and I was being harassed with calls and texts and I even received death threats.”

After a two-month investigation, Greenville Police arrested James Edwards IV, 19, on a charge of cyberstalking. He’s a member of ECU’s Pi Lambda Phi chapter.

When the post first surfaced, the ECU Greek life community was at a loss for words. Rod McClure, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi says he wasn’t surprised when first saw the post.

“It’s also that people didn’t question it,” McClure said. “It’s just a racial issue here in Greenville and Pitt County and even ECU students.”

Greenville Police Department spokesperson, Kristen Hunter, says they worked closely with ‘Yik Yak’ to pinpoint the source of the racist post. She warns those who take part in anonymous posting, that they can’t get away with malicious acts.

“If you have any type of social media app, there is a digital footprint,” Hunter said. “There is a way to track this type of activity and behavior. So, I would certainly caution anybody that’s looking to utilize anonymous apps that we can find you.”

Meanwhile, Austin hopes this situation becomes a lesson, for those who believe anything they see on the internet.

“Because something is posted, doesn’t mean it’s true,” Austin said. “Don’t spread rumors. What happened to me can happen to anyone.”

John Mountz, ECU Director of Student Engagement said, “We are aware of the arrest by Greenville Police of an ECU student related to a racist Yik Yak post earlier this semester. We appreciate the efforts of the Greenville Police to identify the individual who made the post and to clear the name of the student and the Theta Chi fraternity listed in the original post. We will continue to work with our students and campus to build a welcoming and inclusive community for all.”

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