CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Southern Illinois University Carbondale Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell spoke on Monday, April 25 at around 2 p.m. about a recent video circulating online.
The video, which the university said "promotes racism and violence on campus," was published on YouTube on April 21.
SIU Chief of Communications Rae Goldsmith said they began reaching out to YouTube to request the video be removed on Saturday when they first heard about it.
Colwell said YouTube took the video down about 15 minutes before the press conference.
"The video was very offensive. The video was horrific," Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell said in the press conference. "I'm sickened by it."
Colwell said they are aware of "May 2nd."
A group posted online about a one-day strike at SIU about a week before this offensive video was published.
A strike on May 2 was also mentioned in graffiti spray painted on Faner Hall on SIUC's campus.
Colwell said he hoped everyone had read the letter from the May 2nd committee, as well as looked at their website.
"...there's no riot. There's no riot," he said. "In their own words, this is a peaceful protest to bring up issues of student debt, and just larger fiscal, national policy issues."
He said he's hoping it goes off peacefully.
"We're not going to be naive about anything, but hopefully put the pieces in place to get the outcome that we desire, which is peaceful dialogue with students," Colwell said.
Colwell said they did not know who the "May 2nd committee" was.
As to whether the committee and whomever created the video were related, Rae Goldsmith said they believe they build off of each other.
"We see things building off of each other," she said. "So, it may not be that this group is connected to this group, but they're watching each other and building off of it."
When asked if they are worried about seeing like the video in the future, Colwell said that's why they're asking for calm.
"It would be very frustrating for me if we let 'others,' whoever that 'others' may be because we don't know who they are, disrupt what's going on at our fine university," he said. "As chancellor of this campus, I will pound on the table for the safety of our students."
Earlier on Monday, Colwell sent an email to students addressing the video.
"I assure you that the university is taking this video very seriously and is working to identify the source," he said in the email. "We will take appropriate action. We have also asked that the video be removed."
He urged everyone to not give them more power by sharing the messages and "letting them create fear."
In the video, an SIU fraternity was sourced as the creator of the video; however, that fraternity released a statement saying the chapter and its members had nothing to do with the creation or distribution of the video.
Rae Goldsmith said they have no reason to believe the fraternity named had any responsibility at all.
Linda McCabe-Smith, associate chancellor for institutional diversity, said she wants people to understand that sometimes actions are being taken that the university can't talk about publicly.
"I know people are looking for tangible kinds of things, but understand that I am not an attorney at all, I'm not claiming to be, but there are precautions that we have to take as well as a university," she said. "We do look into these things."
She said there are processes and procedures.
"If you hear, see anything, let us know about it," she continued," whether its DPS, or my office, the office of diversity and equity. These are the kinds of things that we take a look at to find out the source and what's going on."
Collectively, she said the investigative process does take time.
Lori Stettler, interim vice chancellor for student affairs, said they are have met with students continuously. She said they have taken quite a few actions, including diversity dialogues in the residence halls and having open campus discussions.