School to take disciplinary action following racial, homophobic slur controversy

School to take disciplinary action following racial, homophobic slur controversy

Layla Moghavem

In light of reports of students using homophobic and racial slurs in social media posts, President Rick Commons sent an email to the Harvard-Westlake community condemning the language and behavior and promising administrative action.

A Facebook post shared by alumni contained students’ social media posts, which were originally shared on students’ private accounts and included repeated use of the n-word as well as homophobic slurs, and called for the administration to take action.

In his email, Commons said that the student posts were first brought to the administration’s attention when they were re-posted yesterday “in a more public manner by someone who is not a Harvard-Westlake student,” he said.

Commons also said that the students will undergo the school’s disciplinary process in coming days and he said he will be “fully involved in the disciplinary and community decisions that result” due to the “profound impact” the situation has had on the school.

Though Commons did not state the names of the students, the Chronicle has been able to confirm through the alumni Facebook post and the student’s post itself that one of the students is a current prefect. Commons did not say in his email, however, whether this disciplinary process would be affected in any way since one of the students involved is a prefect.

Commons has not yet responded to the Chronicle’s request for comment as to whether the matter would go to the Honor Board.

Commons also condemned the language used, saying they “should have no place at Harvard-Westlake, where it is our mission ‘to be a diverse and inclusive community’ and where it is our stated aim ‘to enable every member of the community to feel an equal sense of belonging.’ The fact that these words are among us represents a failure of our mission, and it is an urgent call to action.”

Upper School Dean Department Head Beth Slattery also emailed students Friday afternoon, offering the Deans’ Conference Room as “a safe space to talk about the issues currently facing our community” on Tuesday. Deans and administrators will be in the conference room throughout the day to discuss the matter with any students.