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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Offensive content toward Texas State student displayed on social media


trauth response

Warning: This post contains racially charged images
Texas State University is investigating an incident involving an offensive image and vulgar language directed at a Texas State student that surfaced on social media in January, a university spokesperson said.
The image featured student David Hickland’s face placed onto a black and white photograph of a lynching victim. The image was tweeted by @txstfrat5645, an anonymous account. The account tagged Hickland and referred to him with racial slurs. Hickland did not respond for comment per request.
Texas State was notified of the incident via Twitter by a tweet showing screenshots of messages sent to Hickland from student Corbin Cornwell’s Facebook account. The messages used defamatory language and homophobic slurs. The date of the messages from Cornwell’s account correlate with the date the photo was tweeted out from the anonymous account. In addition, a fake Facebook account was created in Hickland’s name and consisted of three friends including Cornwell.
Cornwell denied the allegations of creating the altered image.
“I know this is not the first picture created, and it’s not the first time that I have been accused,” he said in an email response. “I disagree with David, but I did not have anything to do with that photo shopped image.”
The allegations came two days after Cornwell was sworn in as a student government senator for the 2017-18 academic year.
Cornwell said he is in the process of hiring a lawyer to take legal action against the defamation of his name on twitter.
Connor Clegg, student body president, condemned the offensive content and said he does not know who sent the messages, but assures there will be consequences for the individual or individuals found guilty.
“Those images are disgusting. Whoever made them, there needs to be consequences,” Clegg said. “That’s not acceptable, not in my senate, and that’s not acceptable at Texas State.”
As for the Facebook messages from Cornwell’s account, the messages were in reference to the four fraternities suspended off campus after hosting a party where the death of Texas State student Jordin Taylor occurred.
“Predictably, I was upset about this decision in which an organization I had been involved in was removed from campus,” Cornwell said. “At the time David Hickland decided to post on Facebook a status that publicly exposed the decision in a very unprofessional manner. At that point I messaged him privately via Facebook and expressed my displeasure for his post.”
One of Cornwell’s Facebook messages read, “Your post is so disrespectful and you are the epitome of a fucking pussy. You don’t have the authority or the rights to post and let that go public you piece of fucking shit.”
Matt Flores, Texas State spokesperson, confirmed that the incident is under investigation.
“Clearly, this isn’t who we are as Bobcats. We don’t condone that kind of language,” Flores said.
On Twitter, both Hickland and Cornwell mentioned an interest in pursuing legal action. Many other tweets continue to be added to the conversation as students become aware of the tweets.

Update 1:09 p.m. April 20 | President Denise Trauth released a statement this morning concerning the offensive tweet.

Update 3:02 p.m. April 20 | A petition has been started online calling for the removal of Corbin Cornwell as a senator for Texas State’s Student Government.
The University Star will continue to update information.
Bri Watkins, Katie Burrell, Denise Cervantes and Emily Sharp contributed to this story. 

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