The Collegian
Friday, August 14, 2020

Incoming first year uses racial slur in video, admission rescinded

<p>The Queally Center for Admission and Career Services.</p>

The Queally Center for Admission and Career Services.

Editor’s note: This article includes a video with racist, anti-Black and expletive language.

Confidential on-campus resources for counseling are Counseling and Psychological Services and the Office of the Chaplaincy. 

Non-confidential resources include the Office of Common Ground and the Westhampton College and Richmond College deans’ offices.


The University of Richmond rescinded an incoming first-year student’s offer of admission yesterday after a video surfaced on Twitter earlier this week of the student and his friend using the N-word and disparaging George Floyd, according to a statement released by UR Wednesday. 

“The University of Richmond yesterday rescinded an offer of admission to an incoming student who posted an offensive and racially charged video on social media that did not reflect the University’s values or its commitment to a thriving and inclusive community,” according to the statement.

Cynthia Price, vice president of media and public relations at UR, emailed the statement to the Collegian on the morning of June 24 and said it would be shared across social media channels. 

Adam Giaquinto, who planned to attend UR in the fall, and Nate Panza, who intended to play football at Cornell University, were both 2020 graduates from Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, New Jersey. 

In a Snapchat video filmed by Giaquinto early on June 21, Panza is heard in the background saying, “F--- that [racial slur].” He then tells Giaquinto not to post the video, to which Giaquinto responds, “You George Floyd lookin’ motherf--- [racial slur].” 


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Panza then tells Giaquinto that he cannot say that and shouldn’t post the video, to which Giaquinto responds: “Exactly. That’s why it’s not going anywhere, [racial slur].” 

The Collegian was unable to contact Giaquinto for comment. Giaquinto and Panza’s Morristown-Beard email addresses have been deactivated and their social media accounts appear to have been deleted, according to the MorristownGreen

On Monday, rising junior Elle Jackson tweeted the video at the official University of Richmond Twitter account, writing: “Are going to accept and allow this behavior at our institution? Now is the time to take a stance against racism like all those emails say you will.” 

UR replied to the tweet with: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are currently investigating this matter.” 

Rising junior Kristen Starks created a Change.org petition Tuesday titled “Revoke Adam Giaquinto’s Acceptance to the University of Richmond.” The petition surpassed 2,000 signatures in less than 24 hours, Starks said. The petition closed with 2,742 signatures. Many left comments stating why they signed. 

“Revoking one student's admission is a really simple thing to do, honestly, on the scale of things,” Starks said. “Another student pointed out that there are plenty of Adam Giaquintos in our school already, people who support racist rhetoric and ideology, either explicitly or implicitly. This one action by the university is merely the tip of the iceberg.” 

After Starks’ petition reached its goal of 2,500 signatures, she updated it to encourage people to sign a petition advocating for the development of an Africana studies department at UR, a proposal for which was created in February.

"Unfortunately, [the Africana studies petition] hasn't received as much support as the petition that I released,” Starks said. “So that's really discouraging and disheartening. I'm hoping that the university will be as responsive to things like the call for Africana studies." 

The Cornell Daily Sun reported Tuesday that Panza would no longer join Cornell’s football team in the fall but that his acceptance to the Cornell Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management remained intact as of Monday evening.

On Sunday, Morristown-Beard shared a statement on Twitter from its headmaster Peter Caldwell and Board of Trustees president John Fay that called the video’s content “offensive and hurtful.” 

Caldwell convened a task force to review the high school’s diversity policies and called the video a “reminder of the work that still needs to be done by us as a school and as a nation,” according to the statement.

Another 2020 graduate from Morristown-Beard, Sarah Laud, had her acceptance to Colgate University revoked Tuesday after posting a TikTok video that “belittled African Americans,” according to MorristownGreen. 

As of today, 2,274 people have signed a Change.org petition to get Laud’s acceptance revoked.

Panza wrote to the Cornell Daily Sun on Monday night: “A video was taken of me using a word that is offensive and hurtful. The word has a long history of cruelty for the black community and is simply wrong. I am heartbroken I have hurt people; those I know and those I do not. I take full responsibility for my actions. 

“I plan to educate myself on the issues of racism and injustice in America, as I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. The label ‘racist’ is not something I can live with and I will work to prove that every day for the rest of my life. It is my humble hope that I come out of this incident as a better ally, better friend and better person.”

The UR administration makes claims about its commitment to progressive action, Starks said, referencing initiatives like "No Room For Hate," the TIDE retreat and UR’s commitment to inclusive excellence. 

"But we don't see much tangible change at the university," Starks said. "It's really discouraging. I'm happy I did what I did, but I have a feeling that this is going to contribute to the university being praised for being so progressive and responsive to students' calls and things like that, and that people are truly going to be thanking UR for what it did, even though it's less than the bare minimum."  

Contact features editor William Roberts at william.roberts@richmond.edu. 

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