Columbia University officials are investigating the subject of a now-viral video featuring a white student incoherently ranting about his own racial superiority, while harassing a group of primarily black peers. "White people are the best thing that happened to the world," he declares, as students pull out their cameras. "We're white men. We did everything!"
— Aala (@aalanasir) December 9, 2018
According to witnesses who spoke with the campus newspaper, von Abele followed the group from Butler Library to JJ's Place, where he continued to berate them with unprompted declarations of white supremacy. Kwolanne Felix, one of the students in the group, posted on Twitter that he "went out of his way to harass groups of black people who were minding their business. And continued to instigate and followed us after we left!"
A statement shared on Facebook by the Black Students’ Organization claims that von Abele physically grabbed a student and asked her if black women like to date white men.
In the video, the apparently drunk sophomore can be seen responding to pushback from his peers by jumping around erratically, flailing his arms, and screaming in a high pitch voice: "We invented science and industry and you want to tell us to stop because ‘Oh my God, we’re so bad.'" Largely echoing the Proud Boys slogan—"Western chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world"—he goes on to assert that "we invented the modern world" and "built modern civilization."
On Monday, the administration issued a statement denouncing the "racially charged incident," and vowing to create a "working group on bias incidents" under the university's existing Inclusion and Belonging Task Force. "Statements of white racial superiority conflict with the University’s core value of inclusivity as well as the educational work and research that take place on our campuses," the university added.
A spokesperson for Columbia has not responded to follow up questions about whether von Abele could face discipline for the incident. According to Felix, the student interacted with a public safety officer later in the night, but was let go.
The altercation comes just weeks after the office of a Jewish Columbia professor was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti, including swastikas and an anti-Semitic slur.