Stetson Launches FBI Investigation of “Let’s Talk Racism” Zoombombing Incident

Calista Headrick, Writer - The Reporter

On June 23, Stetson’s “Let’s Talk Racism” Zoom webinar was hacked. A racist video was played briefly before the beginning of the webinar, but was eventually shut down by administration. On the evening of July 8, an email was sent out to Stetson students, faculty, and staff with an update on the situation. This email outlines Stetson’s plan in investigating the Zoombombing occurrence. 


The university acknowledges the Zoombombing incident as a hate crime and relayed to the community that the Office of Information Security began an investigation after it was immediately reported to IT. In addition, after the incident was reported to the FBI Hate Crimes Unit, as well as to local law enforcement, Stetson was updated today that the incident is indeed in the process of being investigated by the FBI Hate Crimes Unit. 


If the investigation finds that the hateful hacking was committed by someone in the Stetson community, the university asserts that “those individuals will face quick and decisive actions, including expulsion or termination,” and if by someone outside of the community, that they “will work with law enforcement to ban that person from campus and to seek the harshest penalties allowed by law.” 


Additionally, the members who were present for the webinar have been informed of the services that Stetson’s counseling services offers.


This follows an initial email on July 4 from Lua Hancock, Vice President of Campus Life and Student Success. In this email, Hancock relayed her sympathies and distress, and informed the community that an immediate investigation with Public Safety and IT was called for by the university, as well as information on Zoombombing in general.


This latest update from the university comes two weeks after the initial incident occurred. In response to the university’s initial delayed acknowledgement, Stefania Ospina started a petition calling for Stetson to launch an internal and external investigation into the occurrence. At this point, the petition has 1,642 signatures. Additionally, the petition included an email template in which students could use to email members of the administration.