MU’s Office for Civil Rights & Title IX is investigating a Snapchat video that was widely criticized on social media as mocking the death of George Floyd.

The video, a screen recording of a private Snapchat, shows two young women play-fighting. One is sitting on top of the other with her knee close to the bottom woman’s neck as she screams, “I can’t breathe.” One of the women involved is attending MU in the fall, according to her Instagram account, which has since been made unavailable.

The video appeared on social media days after Floyd died in police custody after being choked under the knee of a Minneapolis officer Monday. In the days since, national protests of police violence against black individuals have dominated headlines.

It is not known which of the individuals in the video is the incoming MU student, and her identity has not been confirmed by the university.

The caption on the tweet read, “this video was posted by a graduating senior in my class of two other girls in my class. disgusting! @NWMOSTATE @Mizzou are getting some great students next semester!”

Just over two hours after the video was posted on Twitter, MU responded.

“Thank you for letting us know,” the @Mizzou account said. “We are aware of the video and have submitted the details to the appropriate offices.”

MU spokesperson Christian Basi confirmed that the video had been reported to MU’s Office for Civil Rights & Title IX and was under investigation. Incidents reported to the office must be investigated.

The video and MU’s response have since drawn viral attention, with the original post garnering more than 1,500 retweets and 1,800 likes as of 4:30 p.m. Friday, as well being shared on other accounts.

MU’s Legion of Black Collegians, the campus’ black student government, released a statement Friday reflecting on the week’s events while encouraging action and understanding.

“To our community, constituents, advocates and allies, we implore you to empathize and seek understanding with those impacted by these unfortunate occurrences,” it said. “During these difficult times, it is important we all acknowledge our privileges and utilize our platforms as we work collectively to eradicate these unjust actions facing the Black community.”

On Saturday, the Missouri Students Association released a statement condemning acts of racism and hate.

It also addressed the video, saying: “We do not condone such egregious displays of racism and condemn all acts of hate, which have no place on our campus. We value and appreciate the voices of those who have spoken out and brought this issue to the attention of Mizzou administration in order to encourage accountability and a safe and inclusive home for Mizzou students.”

On Thursday, the University of Missouri System condemned “discrimination and violence” in an email message to all four campuses, including MU.

“We have no tolerance for discrimination or acts of hate in our community and encourage robust, respectful dialogue,” the email said.

  • Galen Bacharier is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. He has reported on higher education, state government and breaking news. Reach him at galenbacharier@gmail.com or on Twitter @galenbacharier.

  • Elizabeth Brixey is the Columbia Missourian's education editor and an associate professor in the Missouri School of Journalism. She can be reached at (573) 882-2632 and brixeye@missouri.edu.

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