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'Hate Speech' On Social Media Prompts Western Washington University To Suspend Classes

Western Washington University in Bellingham.

Western Washington University administrators called off all classes Tuesday after getting word of "hate speech targeted at Western students of color" on social media.

WWU president Bruce Shepard said in a statement there was "no threat to general campus safety," but that he canceled classes in order to give the Bellingham campus time "demonstrate our outrage, to listen to each other, and to support each other."

"I need to be VERY clear here: we are not talking the merely insulting, rude, offensive commentary that trolls and various other lowlifes seem free to spew, willy nilly, although there has been plenty of that, too," Shepard wrote. "No, this was hate speech."

Shepard did not go into further detail about the social media posts, saying there was an "ongoing law enforcement investigation." But in his opinion, the posts "are likely crimes."

Though classes were off, other university operations would continue Tuesday, Shepard said.

Kyle Stokes covers the issues facing kids and the policies impacting Washington's schools for KPLU.