SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — Bryant University is investigating after a student’s attempt at a stand-up comedy routine sparked allegations of racism.
The incident, which was recorded on cell phone video and widely shared on social media, happened during an open mic event put on by Bryant’s campus radio station on Thursday.
In the video, the unidentified male student can be heard saying, “White people, we can’t really tell black people what to do any more. We used to be able to do that. But we can’t anymore. I’m just jealous about the fact that black people are allowed to physically assault their children and I’m not.”
The video shows only part of the routine, which is eventually interrupted when three students walk onto the stage and take the microphone away.
The university’s Bias Incident Committee says it determined a bias incident did occur, but is still collecting information beyond the video clip in its review of the matter.
“I thought it was disgusting,” Bryant University junior John Martin, told Eyewitness News. “There’s no place at Bryant for that stuff and nobody feels like that. There’s just one bad egg that makes us look bad.”
On Friday, Bryant’s president, Ronald Machtley alerted students and faculty to the incident, saying “the committee will continue to hear witness testimony on Monday to understand the total context of the performance, in order to determine the full magnitude of the bias incident.”
Once the review is complete, the committee will submit the findings to the vice president of student affairs and the vice president of human resources for a follow-up student conduct review.
“People want the administration to do something about it and stop these events, but at the same time, it’s freedom of speech, so it’s a multi-layered issue,” Martin said.
Eyewitness News emailed the student in the video, but did not immediately hear back.