A University of Kansas cheerleader has been suspended from the cheer squad after she was accused of sending a racist Snapchat. In a statement, the school said that Lili Gagin denied sending the message. Gagin apparently said that she had left her phone unlocked during a party in the aftermath of a party celebrating the school’s 83-63 basketball victory over the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The photo shows three men all wearing sweaters with the letter “K” for Kansas on their chests. The caption on the pic reads, “Kkk go trump.” The three men have also been suspended.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Gagin Had Not Been Cheering During the Alabama Game
According to her official profile on the KU Athletics website, Gagin is a sophomore from Grayslake, Illinois. Associate athletic director for public affairs Jim Marchiony told Kansas University Sports that Gagin “adamantly denies” being involved in the Snapchat. Gagin was suspended on the morning of November 22, the Snapchat was sent on November 19. She had not been cheering during UK’s win over the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The investigation is being handled by KU Athletics and KU’s Office of Student Affairs. Marchiony added, “We have included the university on this every step of the way. They knew step by step what was going on as soon as we found out about it. We are keeping them involved.” The male cheerleaders involved have yet to be identified.
2. Gagin Said on Twitter That She Is ‘Appalled’ by the Photo
On her Twitter page, Gagin denied involvement in the incident. She wrote, according to the Kansas City Star, “I’m appalled that a Snapchat was put out on my snapchat and posted to my account. I would never (have) done that & I apologize that it happened.” Since then, Gagin’s Twitter profile has been set to private.
Speaking of deleted tweets, in the aftermath of the scandal, the official KU Athletics Twitter account tweeted, “Unacceptable. She is suspended from cheering pending formal investigation. This behavior won’t be tolerated. Will be dealt w/ appropriately.”
3. Gagin Is Studying to Become a Nurse
Gagin is studying to become an emergency room nurse, according to her official KU Athletics profile. Her Twitter bio simply reads “KU Cheerleader” accompanied by a heart. Gagin began studying at the school in July 2015.
She attended high school at Grayslake Central High School in Grayslake, Illinois. In 2011, Gagin was featured in her local newspaper due to her efforts in raising money for autism. Her official bio says that she has “been cheering for over 14 years.” During her high school years, Gagin was on the national honor society. Her parents are Mark Andrews and Milissa Gagin. Milissa Gagin regularly retweets messages that feature her daughter from the Kansas Cheerleading Twitter page.
On her Pinterest page, Gagin shows and interest in gluten-free food and clothes.
4. Students at the University of Kansas Began Complaining about Pro-Trump Messages on Campus in March 2016
In March 2016, University of Kansas students had begun complaining about pro-Trump graffiti on campus, according to Campus Reform. Student politician Shegufta Huma, wrote on Twitter, “Is this the post-racial paradise folks pretend exists?”
University officials responded to that tweet saying, “Just because there is chalk on campus doesn’t mean a Jayhawk did the chalking, Shegufta.”
5. Reports of Hate Crimes Remains on the Rise Since the Election of Donald Trump
Since Trump’s election on November 8, various hate crimes have been reported across the United States. On college campuses, instances such as a swastika being sprayed on a wall at the State University of New York College at Genese accompanied by the word “Trump,” has also been reported.
While in Texas, the Austin Statesman reports that pro-Trump fliers were being handed out at Texas State University. They read, “Now that our man Trump is elected. Time to organize tar and feather vigilante squads and go arrest and torture those deviant university leaders spouting off that diversity garbage.”
A New York Times feature detailed all of the reported Trump-related hate crimes on college campuses since the presidential election.