Columbia University officials have responded to a viral video in which one of their students is seen delivering a racist rant.
A group of underclassmen posted footage of the incident on social media Sunday, sparking nationwide outrage. The video features white sophomore student Julian von Abele shouting white supremacist rhetoric at his fellow students, some of whom are black.
"We invented science and industry and you want to tell us to stop because, 'Oh my god, we're so bad!'" he says in the 54-second clip. "We saved billions of people from starvation, we built modern civilization! White people are the best thing that ever happened to the world!"
According to the Columbia Spectator, the incident began early Sunday outside the university's Butler Library. von Abele reportedly followed the group of students to a dining hall, where he continued to verbally harass them.
Days after the footage was posted, Columbia University deans released a statement condemning the student's comments. They also reassured the campus that officials are investigating the situation.
"Many of you have heard about or seen the alarming footage online, which includes painful language directed toward students of color in our community," the statement reads in part. "Although we cannot comment on the proceedings, this incident is already under investigation by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, and we want to assure you that it will be investigated thoroughly, beginning with interviews of witnesses."
The incident occurred just weeks after a Columbia professor's office was covered in anti-Semitic graffiti. In light of Sunday's episode, a number students and faculty members have called on the school to take more action to combat discrimination and racism on campus.
"You can have arguments all you want about free speech and people being entitled to say what they want. But when that bubbles [into] assaulting black or brown people with that and then stalking them ... you’re getting into levels of hate crime and your speech being directly related to violence," University Senator Alfredo Dominguez told the Spectator. "There needs to be more dialogue [...] It's clear that the University needs to take a further stance about better educating its students more holistically."
It's unclear of von Abele faces any disciplinary action.