Oklahoma City University’s graduation commencement ceremony was conducted virtually this year, like other universities, due to COVID-19.
The ceremony suddenly ended Saturday afternoon after a hacker used a racial slur and a swastika during the live Zoom video.
A time for celebrating and honoring this year’s graduating class became a shocking and disturbing experience.
“You could see everybody’s faces were kind of in shock for a minute and it just turned to immediate disappointment,” OCU graduate Alison Sloan said.
Sloan said university faculty quickly ended the ceremony.
“I think ending it was the smart thing to do because people didn’t know how to turn it off,” Sloan said.
“We are deeply hurt and saddened by the pain that has been inflicted upon our community,” OCU President Martha Burger said in a statement. “The Class of 2020 has been champions of diversity and inclusion, and we will continue to show love and support to each other as a university family in the aftermath of this hate.”
OCU officials said they have filed a report to federal and state authorities. They said all data and information will be provided to investigators and will assist law enforcement to identify the hacker or hackers.
Sloan and other students said they don’t want this to represent the university in any way.
“This does not define us and OCU does not stand for anti-Semitism and racism,” Sloan said. “We stand for love and support, unity and diversity.”
OCU also reminded students they have access to university counseling services throughout the summer.