Syracuse University officials say they have not yet found any proof that a white supremacist manifesto was sent to students via the iPhone AirDrop feature this week, the university said in a statement Friday.
The school’s Department of Public Safety, the Syracuse Police Department and the FBI are still investigating the alleged message, part of a string of racially charged incidents at the university in the last two weeks.
“So far, no one has been able to produce a device that received that document despite pleas from investigators to come forward to help find those responsible,” says the school’s statement, obtained by BuzzFeed News on Friday. “At this time, the alleged AirDrop remains an unsubstantiated rumor that spread rapidly from Monday night into Tuesday morning.”
The Daily Orange, Syracuse’s university newspaper, also reported on Thursday that police had not found any devices that contained the manifesto.
Students of Syracuse were angered over the university’s response to reports that a person was using AirDrop, which uses the iPhone’s Bluetooth function, to send a manifesto promoting white supremacy to people in the campus library earlier this week.
The manifesto was reportedly similar to the one that was distributed online by the man accused in the deadly massacres at two New Zealand mosques last March.
On Tuesday, the university assured students and staff that they were investigating the incident and that there was “no appearance of a direct threat,” based on preliminary information.
Biko Mandela Gray, an assistant professor, criticized the school for concluding that the manifesto posed no threat to the school.
“Students are struggling. They’re terrified. I’m terrified. That’s the nature of terrorism,” Gray tweeted Tuesday.
Students launched a protest urging university leaders to sign a list of demands to ensure the school addresses racism on a systemic level.
On Wednesday, Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud told the university’s Senate that the AirDrop manifesto was “probably a hoax.”
“To date, law enforcement has not been able to locate a single individual who directly received an AirDrop. Not one,” Syverud said. “It was apparent that this rumor was probably a hoax, but that reality was not communicated clearly and rapidly enough to get ahead of escalating anxiety.”
The Syracuse campus has been plagued with racist harassment and graffiti since Nov. 7.
Students have found racist graffiti which included racial slurs that targeted Asian and Black students, swastikas drawn on walls and into the snow and anti-Black notes across campus and in student residence halls.
In one incident, according to Syverud, 14 people who were leaving a party hosted by the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity reportedly harassed a Black student and called her a racist slur. Four of the people were Syracuse students.
A professor also reportedly received an anti-Semitic email.
Syverud met with student protesters to discuss their concerns over the recent harassment and agreed to 16 of their 19 demands.
Their protest has since ended, and the students have called on the chancellor to resign.
REAL LIFE. REAL NEWS. REAL VOICES.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.