Freshman Admits to Using Racial Slur in Online Video

Late in the evening of Friday, Jan. 19, campus bias-reporting systems were notified of a video on social media that had begun to quickly circulate around the Wake Forest community. In the video, freshman Kara Nelson admitted to being drunk and to calling her resident adviser a racial slur.

The original video had been posted to the girl’s fake Instagram, more commonly known as a “finsta.” A fake Instagram account is a private account where one can post things that are not as serious as what one would post on their real Instagram account. Another main component of a “finsta” is that the person only allows a select group to follow them, such as their closest friends.

The video was then recorded and posted to Twitter by another Wake Forest student with the comment, “The trend of saying the n-word on finstas is so strong at PWI’s [primarily white institutions]. But racism is dead?” The user tagged the official Wake Forest Twitter account in her tweet.

The tweet quickly gained attention. As of 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 21, the original tweet had 285 retweets and 260 likes. Many people have responded to the tweet, saying how unacceptable it is and tagging the Wake Forest Twitter in a call for action.

On Saturday morning, a campus-wide email was sent out by Penny Rue, the Vice President of Campus Life.

According to Rue, the Campus Life staff were alerted of the video, which she called “deeply troubling,” through the university’s bias-reporting system. She said they were engaged in discussions with individuals in order to gather details on the incident.

On Twitter, the official Wake Forest account has responded to the many individuals who have tagged them in tweets about the video by saying, “We are taking this matter seriously and conducting a thorough investigation.”

This incident has quickly followed a similar incident at the University of Alabama, where a female student was expelled for posting videos to social media profusely using the n-word.

In her email, Rue stated how this incident has caused a great amount of concern and anger in the Wake Forest community. She also cited that the university is conducting an investigation and is taking the incident seriously.

“Racist and discriminatory behaviors are not tolerated at Wake Forest,” Rue said.  

  • Jim Cleary

    By no means do I defend nor support a racist confrontation and posting a video on Twitter was beyond wrong, it was stupid. As a Wake graduate I have witnessed a slow but definite decline from a Christian university to a liberal secular institution. In these many years I have had much contact with my beloved university and have heard many students and alumni voice their dismay about these changes.
    Before you rush to call me a racist too, let me tell you I have many many friends and co-workers who just happen to be African-American. I am friends with them, not because of their color but because of their character. For that same reason, not all caucasians are considered my “friends”.
    Now an observation, many students, both caucasian and African-American voice opinions that some of Wake’s African-American students are as abusive as their bigoted caucasian counterparts . They accuse them of constantly screaming racism as a protective shield used to insulate them from discipline anytime a conflict arises. That is equally as disgraceful and wrong as those bigoted whites.
    With the recent murder on campus, something must be done to back away from this mounting discontent. Somewhere among your student population there needs to arise leaders (white and black) who can guide their particular ethnic class toward tolerance and civility.
    Ms. Rue, if we were truly a Christian university, racist and discriminatory practices would not be tolerated from anyone. Jim Cleary BS 56 MD60

    • Esse Em

      Wow.

      First of all, I guess it’s clear that the OGB is not a forum used by anyone under the age of 50 in the age of social media…

      Mr. Cleary: Congratulations on your friendships with African Americans. And further props for acknowledging that you are not buds with all of the 2 billion or so Caucasians in the world. ??

      Personally, I’m a bit shocked that the OGB published this troubled girl’s name. Obviously, those on campus already have that info but I am not sure who is served by further publicizing her disintegration. I am assuming that her departure is the result of agreement of all parties; it would not really be feasible for her to continue on campus after calling her RA a “Effing N” to her face. Clearly, she has some issues and I truly hope she finds the help that she needs.

      • Esse Em

        And now for the opinion of another Old Fart alumnus. Outside of James Hans (who gave me a D but opened my mind beautifully) I’ve yet to see much debate on the path of Mother So Dear over the past decades. Here’s my take from a comment I made on the Winston Salem Journal previously…

        Frankly, the entire culture of Wake is broken from where I stand. Although I think it’s clear that it is thankfully a more optically diverse community, I can’t recognize the school that was so ably led by Ralph Scales in my time there. I worked 30 hours a week and had two scholarships; that allowed me to almost pay the entire $8,000 a year in total expenses (plus $5 a week for Thursday nights at the Saf Room.) That’s how much Wake Forest cost, including room and board, in 1983. For this year’s incoming class, an undergraduate degree at Wake will approach $300,000 once all fees are accounted for. While Wake would like to claim that they offer generous student aid, the fact is that this model demands that a sizable percentage of the student body has to be drawn from a demographic that can pay full cost tuition. Basically, Wake has become an elitist island. And you don’t have to look too deeply to see the absurd bureaucracy that has been built upon these ridiculous fees. To “celebrate” his 10th anniversary at Wake, our trustees paid Nathan Hatch $4.4 million in the year ended June 2016. Unfortunately, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The salaries paid to dozens of bureaucrats are sickening. Because Wake delays filing their 990 as much as the law allows, it is hard to give completely updated data. In fact, you have to use a third party site to get an electronic copy of Wake’s 990 in real time; on Wake’s site they instantly publish the useless “Audited University Financial Report” which is a crap document with no salary information. If you want a 990 here’s what you get:

        “Requesting Electronic or Printed Copies
        There is no charge to view the forms on site. (Meaning IN THEIR OFFICE)
        Requests for electronic or paper copies of tax year returns may be made by sending the amount specified (20¢ per page) and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:

        WFU Tax Director
        P.O. Box 7201
        Winston-Salem, NC 27109
        davenpae@wfu.edu

        Copies will be mailed or emailed within 7 days of receipt of payment. The postage fee (stamped envelope) is waived when requesting electronic copies.

        Form 990
        Year ended 6/30/16: $17.00 plus postage”

        They could easily provide a link to the 990 but they don’t want you to see it. Why? Well, because the reason Wake will cost nearly $300,000 to attend is because a cadre of astoundingly overpaid administrators are pulling down seriously big bucks. What kind of money? I would recommend that you pull the 990 from GuideStar if you really want the details, but I’ll give you one example. Rogan Kersh, the Provost, was paid about $845,000 in total compensation for the year ended June 30, 2016. Mind you, that’s 18 months ago. The only thing we know for sure is that it’s likely much higher now! Of course, we have no easy way to know what the real bottom line is for these administrators as the “10 Year Anniversary Deal” for Hatch so clearly demonstrates. We thought we were “just” paying him about $1.5 million a year but the Board had added the deferred jackpot bonus to this amount. There is nothing to prevent them from attaching similar packages to any or all of the other enormously overpaid bureaucrats. But, you know, you gotta pay the going rate for new “Mission Statements” and rambling pablum about educating the “whole student.”

        It is criminal to me. Wake, like almost all private colleges, woefully underpays the hard working people who clean the offices and cut the beautiful lawns. They also take advantage of the teaching assistants and lower level instructors who may never gain tenure.

        My wife and I took our degrees from Wake and we both work hard in positions that serve our communities. We give generously to many worthy organizations, with Partners in Health and their outreach in Haiti as a particular favorite. I can’t help but be amused when we get a mailing from Wake imploring us to send them a donation, but it’s actually more sad than funny.

        • disqus_Xg1MYBuXZh

          Thank you for sharing this.

      • Jim Cleary

        I was not defending the actions of this troubled young lady but questioning why Wake allowed themselves to host a party on campus sponsored by a sorority from WSSU. I also wanted to affirm my sources indicate there is a palpable divide on campus between the races and apparently both races must bear some responsibility for this evolution. Sorry to see that persons such as you have access to media that will espouse your vitriol. Yes, I am far over 50. I have watched liberals slowly but surely destroy our Christian university. You appear to be part of that crowd. Just remember, decades of dedicated alumni attended Wake, built and supported Wake to the point that radicals such as you may use it for your own devices. Maybe we are Ole Farts, but we were part of the foundation of amagnificent institute of learning that your kind fails to appreciate and seems determined to destroy.. Your moniker speaks volumes about your character. Incidentally, if you read my note carefully, you would have had enough information to realize to properly address me, you would have referred to me as “Dr. Cleary”. Or is my MD of no value because I earned it at Wake?

        • wfuogb

          Thank you for your comment. For clarity’s sake, the party was not sponsored by a sorority from WSSU – it was sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta of Wake Forest University and WSSU students had been invited.

        • dft

          “Incidentally, if you read my note carefully, you would have had enough information to realize to properly address me, you would have referred to me as ‘Dr. Cleary’. Or is my MD of no value because I earned it at Wake?”

          You insist upon being addressed as “Dr.” while referring to Dr. Rue as “Ms. Rue?”

  • Larry Southerland

    I agree with all of the points made by Dr. Cleary, especially his sorrow that WFU turned its back upon its Christian heritage and traditions beginning in the 1980s in an effort to a become the notoriously “liberal secular institution” that is now appears to have become today. Two of the Christian doctrines that appear to have been “lost in transition” may have been the notions of “mercy” and “redemption” or “rehabilitation.” As this story has unfolded, the student, who became illegally (due to her age) inebriated at a series of “Greek” parties, made entirely inappropriate comments and then posted her “mea culpa” video expressing her realization that she had seriously erred on what should have been a video shared solely among her friends. One (or more) of her so-called friends (is the correct modern term, “frenemies”?) then re-posted this only semi-public expression of what appears to be regret and remorse onto public social media. Then this now-fully-public video was sent to the Vice President of “Student Life.” Perhaps an attempt to “educate,” to provide counseling to or to somehow rehabilitate (whatever term one might chose to use) the offending student should have been the first consideration, especially if, as it appears, the originally semi-private video expressed a sense of regret and an acceptance of her fault, coupled with, perhaps a willingness to proffer a sincerely apology to the offended R.A. Perhaps in a “liberal secular institution” (as Wake Forest University appears to have fully evolved into), the story of “those without sin casting the first stone” and “go, and sin no more” has also been “lost in transition.” Portia’s speech asking Shylock for mercy for the unfortunate Bassanio who foolishly entered into a imprudent bond is rejected because of what it was calculated COULD be done legalistically to Bassanio. Portia’s response to Shylock should be memorized by all those why cry for “social justice” at the expense of mercy and individuated justice: “For, as thou urgest justice, be assured,Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest…” The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Sc. 1, ll.325ff. Or, as the Anglo-American legal system might express it: “Those would would have equity, must do equity” or “Those who would have mercy must grant mercy.” Larry Southerland, B.A. 1980; J.D. 1997

    • disqus_Xg1MYBuXZh

      If you were able to get into Wake, you supposedly possess the critical thinking skills to not call your RA a “[expletive] [racial slur].” Where’s the accountability? Why is the onus on the rest of us to “educate” someone regarding something they should’ve learned as a child? And at a private institution? This girl’s video wasn’t a recanting, or a mea culpa, and your characterization of it as such shows how clouded your judgement is in wishing to defend this girl. I can only imagine how she made another student, and one who is serving her campus community by taking on the role of Resident Advisor, feel. If I were the RA, I’d feel belittled, unwelcome, excluded, and just hurt. And I have no idea what it is like to be Black in this country. The fact you can empathize with this bully and call for Wake to “rehabilitate” her is laughable. She can rehabilitate in community college.

  • George Williamson

    For nearly all the decades that Wake was “a Christian University,” it was a segregated, all-white, officially and institutionally racist institution. Common and public use of the N-word was a symptom, but hardly the worst of its racist dimension. When Wake finally “integrated,” by admitting an African from the Baptist missionary field who was deemed more acceptable to the community than an African-American, it did so only over the very public and protracted objection from large numbers of “Christian” students, “Christian” faculty, “Chriistian” alums and “Christian” members of the Southern Baptist body which controlled the college. George Williamson, ’61