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November 16, 2016

Man investigated for racist GroupMe offered admission into Penn in spring

The University of Oklahoma student that was suspended pending an investigation is no longer enrolled.

Investigation Cyberbullying
University of Pennsylvania campus Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Quadrangle at the University of Pennsylvania.

One man who lives in Oklahoma and is being investigated for involvement in a racist GroupMe that was sent to black members of the freshman class at the University of Pennsylvania was offered and accepted admission into the school in May but then declined, the university said late Tuesday.

He was invited to join the school's "Class of 2020" page since he initially accepted the offer, giving him access to the information allegedly used to create the GroupMe called "N***** Lynching."

Officials said there was no compromise of the school's directory or other campus data systems.

"We continue to support all affected students and underscore our outrage at such reprehensible behavior, whether it originates within or outside our campus," the university said in a statement. "We must unite as a community to heal, reach out, support and understand one another in such challenging times."

In a statement Sunday evening, university President Amy Gutmann, Provost Vincent Price and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli said there were no Penn students associated with the creation of the messages.

"The three individuals who have been linked to the GroupMe message that was sent to first-year Black students here at Penn reside in the state of Oklahoma," the statement said. 

One University of Oklahoma student who was suspended pending the school's investigation is no longer enrolled there, Penn also announced Wednesday.

The university said its primary concern is with the students targeted by the hateful message. Penn staff are providing support and all deans have been advised to ensure that faculty remain sensitive and responsive to these students' academic needs.

"We call on everyone to recognize that the events of the past few days are a tragic reminder of the overt and reprehensible racism that continues to exist within some segments of our society, and that we all need to unite together as a community and a society to oppose," the university continued.

The University of Pennsylvania Police Department continues to work with the FBI on the investigation.

PhillyVoice staff writer Patricia Madej contributed to this report.