Temple University says it’s addressing a TikTok posted by a person who claims to be a student and refers to the area surrounding the school as “the ghetto.”
The 10-second video shows a white male in front of an image of Temple University, then again in front of images of rowhouses, some with boarded-up windows, with the caption “going to a city school and walking two blocks off campus for a party.” In the background is audio from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, in which Nene Leakes says “the ghetto” multiple times.
The video appears to have been deleted from the TikTok platform, but it was captured by third parties and posted on Twitter. Viewers called the video racist and sent it to Temple University, which responded Tuesday from its official account that the video “is unacceptable and deeply concerning.” The school also wrote that the matter “is currently being addressed.”
The student emailed a statement to the Temple News, the school’s student newspaper, apologizing for the remarks and saying the video “does not reflect the person that I am.”
School spokesperson Raymond Betzner wouldn’t name the student in question but confirmed that the student had recently been provisionally accepted to be a member of the Owl Team, which provides orientation to new students at Temple.
He now will not be a part of that team. Betzner said the student hadn’t yet signed a contract to take part in the program and had not yet undergone training, which includes discussions of how students should be conscious of what they put on social media once they become a “representative of the school.” Betzner said that in terms of other discipline, “education is always our first pathway.”
“We find that when you sit down and you talk to students very broadly and allow them the opportunity to get to know their community better,” he said, “their perspective changes.”
Betzner added that the perspective espoused in the video was not representative of the university nor of the majority of its student body. He pointed to a recent essay published in the Temple News, the school’s student newspaper, about the Good Neighbor Initiative, a program that teaches students how to be more cognizant of North Philadelphia residents.
“The moment we arrive at Temple, North Philadelphia becomes our home,” Meaghan Burke, the author, wrote. “The people living in it are our neighbors, so it is important that we treat them and the neighborhood with respect.”