New York — In a racially-charged rant posted on Twitter, a Columbia University student is seen harassing and shouting at a group of primarily minority students.
“We built modern civilization! White people are the best thing to ever happen to the world!” he said. “We built the modern world!”
The incident happened early Sunday morning outside of Butler Library on the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia University.
The students involved say the sophomore, identified by the University’s campus newspaper as Julian von Abele, had targeted them, having followed the group from a campus eatery to outside the library.
Video of the rant has now gone viral and is raising a lot of questions.
“I knew there were racists on campus, I just didn’t expect to meet one personally,” Blossom Maduafokwa told WPIX.
Maduafokwa and fellow Freshman Kwolanne Felix were among those harassed by von Abele.
While they did acknowledge a number of driving factors, including what they perceived as his being under the influence of alcohol, both students feel von Abele’s behavior is a byproduct of a curriculum at the university that tends to lean toward Western European superiority.
“I hope Columbia can take a step back and look in the mirror,” Felix said. “What are they doing on an institutional level to assure that there is a narrative outside of western European knowledge? [Are they] assuring students of color that they can actually see themselves in the curriculums?”
In a statement posted on their Twitter account, Columbia denounced the incident, assuring students and faculty that it’s under investigation.
"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."
Von Abelle did not immediately respond to our requests for comment.
The now-viral rant comes in wake of a number of other hate speech incidents that have occurred not only in New York but across the country.
Posters for a white supremacist group recently surfaced near the Columbia University campus, further escalating tensions.
In response to the incident, Columbia University will be holding what they’re calling an “open reflection space” Monday evening where students can be in community with each other and raise any concerns they may have.