CMU online student meeting hijacked by person who went on bigoted rant

PITTSBURGH — Carnegie Mellon University students are shaken after an anonymous person hijacked a Zoom student body debate and went on a bigoted rant.

According to students who witnessed the attack, the uninvited person used racist and homophobic language, specifically targeting the Black and LGBTQ community.

CMU freshman Sarah Abrams witnessed the “Zoom bombing” on Friday, saying the incident happened 15 minutes into a student body presidential debate.

“He started using a lot of slurs basically that were offensive,” Abrams said. “Specific groups I heard attacked were the African Americans and the LGBTQ community.”

Abrams, who is running for student body vice president, said the public forum was hosted by Carnegie Mellon’s student-run newspaper -- The Tartan -- at which she is a contributing editor.

Abrams told Channel 11 while the attacker left his camera off, his words left her and fellow students frightened, shocked and uncomfortable.

The bigoted rant, which lasted several minutes, coincides with the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes in the country.

According to CMU’s 2018 enrollment demographics, the majority of its undergraduate students identified as Asian.

The Tartan issued a statement about the meeting:

“We at The Tartan want to be absolutely clear: hateful and bigoted speech and sentiments have no place in our organizations, communities and society. This incident is another painful reminder of the undercurrent of hate that we must fight against each and every day.”

CMU officials said they are aware of the incident and are investigating.