WASHINGTON - Two George Washington University sorority members who were captured in a racially-insensitive photo were not aware that the image was posted on Snapchat along with the offensive caption placed on the image until after it was posted, according to the university.
The offensive photo shows a female student holding a banana peel standing alongside another student with the caption that says, "Izzy: I'm 1/16 black." The picture caused outrage in the university community after it was posted and spread throughout social media.
The two students in the photo and a third person who posted the image were all members of the Alpha Phi sorority.
George Washington University launched an investigation, which included interviewing the three sorority members along with reviewing electronic data.
"What they have learned through the fact-finding process is that the quoted caption featured in the text on the picture did not occur when the picture was taken," said George Washington University President Thomas LeBlanc in a message posted on the school's website. "Furthermore, the individuals pictured were unaware of the social media posting and its content until after it was posted. The picture was posted by a person who has said that they did not intend to offend others and acknowledged that the women in the picture did not know or approve of the associated caption."
LeBlanc continued by saying the picture was "offensive and racially inflammatory - resulting in great harm to our community." He said the university will implement mandatory diversity training for freshman students starting in the fall of 2018.
The Alpha Phi sorority has apologized for the incident, according to LeBlanc. Staff members have been communicating with the sorority's national headquarters and are considering appropriate actions.
The student association voted this week recommending to the university to kick Alpha Phi off the campus over the incident.
Last week, the university's chapter of Alpha Phi said the three sorority members were in the process of being removed from the sorority. But it remains unclear if that will change in light of the new information.