Incident on MLK Jr. virtual seminar under investigation

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A joint virtual seminar about Martin Luther King Jr. between Mohawk Valley Community College and SUNY Polytechnic Institute was harassed by offensive and racist language on Friday. Both institutions have decried the actions and Gov. Kathy Hochul has promised to help investigate the incident.

A panel discussion was held through the virtual meeting program Zoom on Friday to discuss the words and message of Dr. King. During the Zoom call, officials said some people started sharing offensive images that insinuated violence, along with racial slurs. Both MVCC and SUNY Poly campus law enforcement are investigating the incident. The presidents of both schools — Acting President Dr. Tod A. Laursen of SUNY Poly and President Dr. Randall Van Wagoner of MVCC — issued a joint statement: “As institutional leaders who were eager to participate in the engagement, we are appalled by such behavior and strongly condemn these acts of hate and the suggestion of violence. We do not yet know if any members of our campus communities were involved in perpetrating the incident, but an investigation has begun and will be pursued to the fullest extent possible.”

Hochul also promised on social media to do her part, directing the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist with the investigation. “I am appalled by the racist virtual disruption,” Hochul posted online. “Racism and all forms of intolerance have no home in New York.

Anyone with information on the disruption is asked to call SUNY Poly University Police at 315-792-7222.

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