‘I think more could have been done’

Black Student Union members felt unsafe after Zoom bombing; came up with new meeting protocols

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OLIVER MCKENNA

The WSU Police and Compliance and Civil Rights were not able to trace the people who Zoom bombed the meeting.

ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Evergreen reporter

WSU’s Black Student Union no longer publicizes its Zoom meeting information after two people who have not been identified made racially offensive comments at a meeting Sept. 15, causing members to feel unsafe.

At first, one of the individuals shared his screen to show a meme that was not offensive, said Yubi Lojewski, junior sociology and comparative ethnic studies double major. Shortly after, he started sharing more explicit images, including images of people being lynched.

“They also were saying a lot of racial slurs and the N-word,” she said. “They were saying things like Black lives don’t matter.”

BSU Events Coordinator Sadarya Wright said the two people continued to say racial slurs while she tried to kick them off the Zoom call.

Lojewski said she felt threatened, and a lot of people felt unsafe with what was said and shown.

“You don’t really think it’s going to happen to you until it does,” she said, adding that people were shocked that this happened.

The meeting was not culturally related or about Black Lives Matter, she said. It was supposed to be a fun meeting and should not have caused any sort of uproar. 

BSU spoke to WSU Police and WSU’s Compliance and Civil Rights about the situation, Lojewski said. They were unable to trace who the two people were.

“It was definitely not handled the way that we would have liked, especially as marginalized students,” she said. “We feel like sometimes our safety isn’t always prioritized compared to other people on campus, so I think more could have been done.”

At the time, BSU members were still learning how to use Zoom, so they were not sure how to track the two people, she said. 

BSU has started using a waiting room and no longer posts the meeting link on social media, Lojewski said. This has caused a decrease in attendance because people cannot access the link as easily.

People now have to request the link through email, and the organization has a list of everyone who was sent that link, she said. 

“It’s sad because we had to change our protocols,” Wright said. “Any other organization can openly let people into their meetings, and we should have the ability to do so, but because of situations like that, we can’t anymore.” 

This is not a unique or uncommon situation, Lojewski said. 

Gonzaga University’s BSU encountered a Zoom bombing last month, according to The Spokesman-Review. Some people joined the meeting, using racial as well as homophobic slurs and showed violent images. The Spokane Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating the incident.

“I think we need to be a little bit more vigilant about how to stop these things from happening and mitigate students of color from harm,” Lojewski said.