Three days after Vanderbilt University students and faculty received an email containing racist language, the school says it was the result of an “external” attack.
Monday night, students were sent an email asking them to subscribe to a white supremacist email list. The N-word was used in the email and was followed by a sentence reading, "White Pride at Vanderbilt and Worldwide."
Vanderbilt called the incident "absolutely unacceptable” and condemned the email. On Thursday morning, the university said the email was sent from “external systems using sophisticated masking techniques.”
Thousands of other email domains, including Gmail, Yahoo and other independent institutions, also received the email. Half of the emails were sent to addresses with no affiliation with Vanderbilt, the school said.
According to a release, the messages appear to be connected to 57 different IP addresses in 17 countries that used anonymizer software to conceal the hacker’s identity. The software allowed them to use the 57 different systems to target the Vanderbilt list.
“We stand with the African American and black members of the Vanderbilt community who were especially impacted by these hateful messages,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said in a statement. “This abhorrent attack on our campus was designed to stoke fear and division. We condemn these messages and the hate and bigotry they espouse in the strongest possible terms. We are deeply sorry that our community was victim to such an attack and know it has caused tremendous pain and anguish.
However, some students said that a previous statement from the university did not go far enough to address the racist email.