A college student who posted a video of her racist ranting to social media on Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been expelled from the University of Alabama, school officials said Wednesday.
Harley Barber, a 19-year-old freshman from Marlton, N.J., recently posted two videos to her “fake” Instagram — the secret, secondary account many teenagers use to show their authentic, less polished selves — of her spewing language that sparked outrage both on her campus and across the country as the videos went viral.
“We do not waste water . . . because of the poor people in Syria,” she said in the first video, standing in front of a bathroom sink. “I love how I act like I love black people,” she said, before using racial slurs.
A second video was posted Monday in response to people who were upset by the language she used in the first. She threatened those who wanted to report her fake Instagram account to her sorority, Alpha Phi, for using racist language. She said she “doesn’t care if it’s Martin Luther King Day” before repeating a racial slur more than half a dozen times.
Barber, who could not be immediately reached for comment, apologized Wednesday in the New York Post and said she is preparing to return to New Jersey.
“I did something really, really bad,” Barber said in a telephone interview with the newspaper. “I don’t know what to do, and I feel horrible. I’m wrong, and there’s just no excuse for what I did. . . . I feel so, so bad, and I am so sorry.”
The University of Alabama’s president, Stuart R. Bell, said in a statement that the videos were “highly offensive and deeply hurtful” and said he was disgusted and disappointed by Barber’s actions.
“The actions of this student do not represent the larger student body or the values of our University,” he wrote. “We hold our students to much higher standards, and we apologize to everyone who has seen the videos and has been hurt by this hateful, ignorant and offensive behavior. This is not who we are.”
Barber’s sorority also condemned the videos in a statement to NJ.com.
“They are offensive and hateful to both our own members and to other members of the Greek and campus community. The [University of Alabama] chapter leadership and supporting alumnae moved quickly to address the offense, and Ms. Barber is no longer a member of Alpha Phi,” said Linda Kahangi, executive director of Alpha Phi International.
Barber told the New York Post that she has received threatening phone calls since the video went viral — calls, she said, that “came out of nowhere.” A friend advised her not to post the videos, but Barber said she didn’t listen.
“I’m an idiot. There’s no excuse. I did something really bad,” she told the newspaper.