In an open letter to the university community, the Penn State Black Caucus detailed an ambush of one of its Zoom meetings recently by 51 people who used white supremacist language, hurled racial and homophobic slurs, and exposed themselves to the cameras.

In the letter, which was posted on Twitter and Instagram on Friday, the Black Caucus called on Penn State to use “its full resources in holding these attackers accountable.”

The letter says that during the Black Caucus’ Jan. 27 Zoom recruitment meeting as part of the university’s virtual Spring Involvement Fair, 51 “unwanted users” ambushed the call and directed racial and homophobic slurs against three caucus executive board members. They also flooded the chat section with anti-Semitic and white supremacist language and symbols, the letter said.

Additionally, some of the intruders screamed, played loud music, and exposed themselves to the camera in a sexual manner during the video call, according to the letter.

Members of the Black Caucus removed the unwanted users and immediately contacted school administration, the letter said.

The Black Caucus’ mission is to promote and protect the safety and well-being of Black students and to educate and serve the university’s minority community.

In a message to the members of the Black Caucus and the Penn State community that was posted on the university’s website Saturday, Penn State president Eric J. Barron said “Zoom bombings” of “various” lectures and meetings “in which hate-filled, racist and antisemitic language was spewed and specifically targeted at people of color and other populations” have been reported, though he did not go into detail about any of the calls or indicate which other groups aside from the Black Caucus have been targeted.

Barron said Penn State has alerted police as well as Zoom to these cases “to investigate and hold the perpetrators accountable.”

“The vile language, images and vulgar content that are characteristics of these coordinated online attacks reflect broader social challenges and ongoing problems within our community and our nation at large,” Barron wrote. “For me, these types of troubling activities serve to strengthen my goal of creating a more inclusive community and certainly underscore the need for continued work together on initiatives like the recent revisions to our Student Code of Conduct.”

In its letter, the Black Caucus called the incident traumatic but stressed that it was not an isolated event, citing three cases of white supremacist attacks and threats against Black students at the school in 1987, 1990, and 2001.

“This country has consistently failed us systemically, resulting in racial injustices in every sector of life,” the letter said. “Throughout the nation and here in Central Pennsylvania, we have seen a rise in recent years of hate crimes and hate-driven radicalization that have resulted in hostility, harm and violence towards Black and brown people.”

The letter acknowledges that Penn State has taken some steps to combat hate, but the authors said it was not enough and called on university officials to investigate this incident and invest in opportunities to comprehensively combat anti-Blackness.

“This incident begs the question: If we are not safe in our classrooms, on our campus, in our homes, in an online meeting, then where are we supposed to go?”

The group issued a statement Saturday night saying it has “received a lot of support” from faculty, staff, students, and alumni, including assurances the attackers will be held accountable.

“We are asking that people share our message and continue to support us and those who are working towards eliminating anti-Blackness in Central Pennsylvania.”