A picture was posted to Twitter of three men standing next to the Black Engineering Building sign on Iowa State's campus with the phrase "n***** only" attached on Tuesday night.
The picture was posted by Willie Harvey, Iowa State linebacker and senior in management. He opposed the picture saying, "Everyone associated with Iowa State University. HELP ME FIND THEIR @ NAME'S. This is not acceptable or "cool"."
Everyone associated with Iowa State University. HELP ME FIND THEIR @ NAME'S. This is not acceptable or "cool". pic.twitter.com/weseYxpWSh— Willie Harvey (@6lackmango) August 16, 2017
The person who took the picture and captioned it, Kyle Malaker, freshman in mechanical engineering, told the Daily he and his friends were walking to get dinner during their first day at Iowa State. Since the whole group was incoming engineers, they stopped by the Black Engineering Building.
"We took a picture in front of the engineering sign and I just captioned it as something that was supposed to be funny," Malaker said. "I'm not an offensive person at all and I never want to be. As soon as I posted it I deleted it right away because I realized how stupid it was."
However, Malaker realized that someone on his Snapchat had already screenshot the picture.
"I feel really bad and embarrassed about it," Malaker said. "I don't want to get off on the wrong foot. I'm extremely sorry about it. I just want to have a good four years at Iowa State."
Malaker said he learned his lesson with social media as well.
"It's definitely a lesson learned for me and everyone," Malaker said. "I'm not racist at all. I was just trying to be funny and it turned out to be not funny. Just manage your social media account and don't do stupid stuff, it sucks."
The Black Engineering Building was named after a long time Iowa State faculty member, Henry M. Black. Black "helped the university's mechanical engineering program into one of the national prominence," according to the Iowa State website.
Multiple responses followed the tweet including Mike Warren, Iowa State running back:
Ignorance at its finest. https://t.co/pIaBQIcZgW— Mike Warren (@M_Warren4) August 16, 2017
Malik Burton, senior in speech communications and president of the Black Students Alliance, reacted to the post on Facebook.
On Wednesday, Student Government President Cody West tweeted about zero tolerance for racism at Iowa State.
There is no place for racism, hatred, or bigotry at ISU. Ignorance shall never be an excuse. Educate yourself and think before you act.— ISU StuGov President (@ISUStuGovPres) August 16, 2017
Martino Harmon, senior vice president of Student Affairs, came out with a statement addressing the social media post on Wednesday afternoon.
"The social media post containing a slur that was reported today was racist, thoughtless and hurtful," Harmon said. "It was particularly troubling in light of the recent occurrences in Charlottesville and is further evidence of a continuing need to fight racist attitudes from all sources. This in no way reflects the attitudes or values of Iowa State University and is counter to the climate we are attempting to build."
He continued by stating, "we value all of our students" and the steps his office is taking to address the "climate" on campus. Read more here.
Due to the Family Educational Rights of Privacy Act, the university can not release any information about disciplinary action, according to a university spokesperson.
Students affected by this can reach out to Iowa State's Multicultural Affairs Office.
Editor's note: This story was updated to include the tweet from the student government president's account, the statement from Martino Harmon and the comments from the university spokesperson.