The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

hunsman-escalator
Credit: Sam Holland

The Office of Student Conduct could not identify from video footage the woman who allegedly made a racist remark in Huntsman Hall, but is still investigating whether the incident was a result of hazing, according to the student who was allegedly the target of repeated "build a wall" comments on Feb. 2. 

“One of the [OSC representatives] said it could have been a scavenger hunt, part of a hazing ritual,” said the Wharton freshman, who met with two OSC representatives on Feb. 7 to discuss the incident. The freshman, who identifies as Mexican-American, claimed the incident included a group of five to six women, one of whom was wearing clothing with letters representing Penn's Kappa Alpha Theta sorority chapter. While one woman shouted remarks at him, another filmed the incident on her phone, he said.

"I'm so sorry but the OSC does not comment on incidents," OSC Director Julie Nettleton wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian.

University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy also declined to provide additional comment, referring The DP back to an earlier statement from Provost Wendell Pritchett. 

"We take this allegation seriously and are supporting the student as we look into the matter," Pritchett wrote in the earlier statement. 

Provost Office spokesperson Leo Charney did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

"OFSL and a Panhellenic chapter are aware of media reports about an alleged incident, but have not received information from the student to initiate a formal inquiry or restorative conversation," Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life Director Jazmyn Pulley wrote in an email.

“Student conduct typically runs most investigations. We just work in tandem with them," Pulley added in a conversation with The DP. “We’re kind of the communication piece between whatever office is working and the chapter and or headquarters."

The Wharton freshman said the OSC representatives saw in the Huntsman Hall video footage that a group of women walked out of the building a few minutes after the freshman did. The women were wearing coats and had their backs turned to the main entrance camera, however, and could not be identified.

“According to [the OSC representatives], there were no video cameras in the escalator or inside the building,” the Wharton freshman said.

The freshman said while the OSC representatives saw the group of women exit Huntsman in the main entrance video footage, the camera did not capture the women entering the building.

“How do you not see them enter?” the Wharton freshman said. “Did they disappear?”

In addition to not having footage that captured the incident, the OSC also could not verify whether the labels on the women's clothing indicated that the women were part of the Theta chapter.

Penn's Kappa Alpha Theta chapter president declined to comment. Kappa Alpha Theta National Director of Communications Liz Rinck did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The freshman added that he suggested that the OSC use information from the PennCard scanners to identify the women as the incident occurred on Saturday. Visitors must scan their PennCards to access Huntsman Hall during the weekend. The freshman said, however, that the OSC representatives said they do not have access to the PennCard information. 

“I feel like they know a lot more than they told me because they did entertain the idea of a scavenger hunt which was probably what that incident was about,” the Wharton freshman said.

The freshman also criticized the OSC’s uncertainty, adding that they were vague about the video footage.

“If they have the evidence, they can do something about it,” he said.

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.