UT College Republicans President’s Twitter Scandal Continues
Cassie Wright stays under the radar, but the media continues chattering about the offensive tweet.
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The Cassie Wright saga continued to bounce around the internet on Tuesday—even the venerably sensational UK tabloid the Daily Mail splashed pictures of Wright (above, right) and her predecessor Lauren Pierce (above, left) on their web page.
As of Wednesday morning, the University of Texas College Republicans president had yet be to tracked down by any members of the media, but her tweet (“my President is black, he snorts a lot of crack”) created enough of an uproar that UT dean of students, Soncia Reagins-Lilly, released a statement on the matter:
Sunday's Twitter posting about President Obama was offensive and embarrassing.
We embrace free speech and encourage the open exchange of ideas. But we also urge all students, alumni and friends to act respectfully and adhere to The University of Texas at Austin honor code which calls for "integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community."
At her blog Politically Inclined, Jessica Huseman noted that the incident also reflected poorly on Wright's common sense:
This girl is the most ignorant user of social media I’ve ever seen.
She goes to UT, so I’m going to assume that someone in her college career said the words “Watch what you put on the internet, it will come back to haunt you.” Clearly, even after watching the repercussions of not being careful on the internet explode in front of her former president’s face, she hasn’t learned her lesson.
But neither has that former president. Wright's predecessor, Lauren Pierce, put out this message on Twitter Tuesday:
As some commentors on the Huffington Post noted back when Pierce's tweet was in the news, it's not necessarily true to say that the two women might be haunted by their words and actions; they might just be preparing for careers as cable news pundits.
Wright and Pierce's combined efforts prompted Syracuse University professor Boyce Watkins to tear into UT and, for no apparent reason, Texas A&M, in a story for his blog Your Black World that was partially re-posted on Slate's African-American news and culture site The Root.
Both the University of Texas and Texas A&M are well-known for the racism being spewed by their College Republican organizations. What saddens me as an educator is the fact that these students are peculiar reflections of the learning environment from which they came . . . Given that the students at The University of Texas are continuously making national news for producing a multitude of creative manifestations of ugly racial hatred, one has to wonder what the university is doing to stop the flow of this kind of pathetically [un-American] language.
Watkins' unsupported rhetoric is undercut by the fact that his piece includes a major factual error which suggests a less-than-careful reading of the story: he repeatedly referred to Cassie Wright as "he."
Houston TV reporter Mary Benton of KPRC Channel 2 was more restrained, but equally critical of the university that she herself attended, tweeting "if (Wright)'s account wasn't hacked, the tweet is embarrassing/shameful. Another example why it's so tough to recruit smart Black kids to UT."
UPDATE: Richard Connelly of the Houston Press reports that Wright is back on Twitter, where she's been retweeting nasty "@" messages and implying that her tweet was inspired by President Obama's admission of past drug use in his autobiography Dreams From My Father.