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Transylvania University Told Some Students Not To Share BuzzFeed's Article On Fraternity Racism

"A Black Girl's History With White Southern Frat Racism," an essay about a black alumni's time on campus, prompted some at the school to speak out. It also prompted the administration to advise its students not to share the article.

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On Thursday, after I published an essay about the racism I experienced as one of the few black students at Transylvania University, students began contacting BuzzFeed saying that they were being discouraged from discussing the piece on social media.

Flickr: Jimmy Emerson/Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND http://2.0) / Via Flickr: auvet

On the heels of the SAE controversy, the essay detailed the practices once employed at the Kentucky liberal arts college by Kappa Alpha fraternity, an organization that lists Robert E. Lee as its "spiritual founder."

The university's Director of Student Involvement and Leadership on Thursday sent an email to the Greek students on campus, urging students not to discuss the article on social media.

"At this time we are asking that you do not comment about the article for the time being on any social media platforms," a copy of the email sent to BuzzFeed by a current Transylvania student said, "regardless of your stance or opinion on the matter."

Here's what one student tweeted about the letter:

Respect to my Greek friends who are speaking out regardless of what McKee says.

One sorority member, who asked not to be named, told BuzzFeed News that her executive council threatened members who shared the article with discipline. Other students said they too were told not to share the essay.

Still, Transylvania's Vice President for Marketing and Communications, Michele Sparks, said on Twitter that the university was "not forbidding any student from posting/sharing."

@brokeymcpoverty thnk u 4 sharing. plz know we are not forbidding any student from posting/sharing.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Sparks claimed that students were told not to comment on the piece, though denied that they were told not to share the article.

...We did not ask Greek students to not share the article on social media. We asked our Greek students to refrain from commenting. We didn't want any kind of retaliation or lashing out. We wanted to respond carefully and thoughtfully to your article. We would never seek to censor our students.

We are taking your article very seriously and it has sparked deep and thoughtful conversations on our campus--which we are looking to continue in meaningful ways in the coming days and weeks. We are always concerned when we hear about injustices towards any of our students.

A request for comment from the Director of Student Involvement and Leadership has not yet been returned.

Thirty-something from Louisville, KY. Made of bourbon and awesome.

Contact Tracy Clayton at tracy.clayton@buzzfeed.com.

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