University of North Texas communications student Chelsea Shaw wants a campus restaurant to close after a student employee typed a racial slur on her receipt Tuesday afternoon.
The student employee, who was later identified as the chef, typed the N-word on Shaw’s receipt instead of asking for her name. Both students are black.
According to a news release from Shaw’s attorney, Justin Moore, if Krispy Krunchy Chicken does not close, UNT does not see student safety as a priority.
"The fact that minority students at our universities are not safe from experiencing this type of humiliation is troubling," the release said. "UNT has a job to do, and it is to make its campus accessible and safe for all students, regardless of color. If Krispy Krunchy Chicken continues to exist on UNT's campus amidst such an egregious act, then student safety is clearly not a priority."
Shaw, who hasn’t responded to media requests for interviews, posted her receipt on Twitter and tagged UNT President Neal Smatresk, who quickly responded that the university prides itself on inclusion and that the incident was unacceptable. Smatresk sent out a mass email to students and staff Wednesday saying that this kind of speech is contrary to UNT’s values and that the university community has a deep history of treating everyone respectfully and caring for one another.
“Immediately upon learning of the incident, our Dining Services unit looked into what happened, discovered who was responsible and terminated the individual who used this slur,” the email said. “It is important to know that both the customer and employee were the same race, and regardless of other societal views it is my belief that the use of this term is never OK.”
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Although racial discrimination is an issue throughout the country, UNT dining services executive director Bill McNeace said that besides this action, the students at UNT are amazing.
“I have worked on many university campuses, and I have never seen such hardworking, intelligent and genuinely pleasant students,” he said. “We even hosted a conference on campus last month, and the attendees toured the university dining locations. … Nearly everyone commented on the high quality of our student workers.”
McNeace does not think the chef intended to hurt anyone because “he could not even explain it.”
The investigation is still ongoing.