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UH M?noa Investigating Accusations of Racism During Debate Competition

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The University of Hawai?i at M?noa is conducting an investigation into students who debate participants say made racist remarks to students from Morehouse College -- a historically Black men's college.

The incident happened during a national debate competition over Zoom.

The Undefeated -- an online publication who first reported on this issue -- said the students from Morehouse College experienced mockery and were racially caricatured when speaking.

In a statement, UH M?noa Provost Michael Bruno said, “The students had entered as an unaffiliated independent organization but did compete under our university’s name.”

The debate team also said they received biased judging. The judges notified the team that they were marked lower for using examples illustrating native African and Indigenous American stories -- while other teams used Western stories such as Cinderella or The Little Mermaid.

Morehouse College withdrew from the debate tournament and other teams followed, leading to a cancellation of the entire event.

In a prior statement to The Undefeated, UH M?noa spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said, "As a higher education institution dedicated to the inclusion and advancement of all peoples, UH condemns all acts of racism, discrimination, bigotry and hate. The group involved is not officially part of any UH school or department, is not a registered student organization and does not have a faculty adviser. The Office of Student Conduct is determining if there were violations of the campus conduct code, which could lead to suspension or expulsion."

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