Honors College Looking Into Sexually Explicit Comment Made In Virtual Chat

Miami Dade College is investigating an incident that occurred yesterday during an Honors College event involving a person making a sexually explicit comment in a virtual chat. 

The incident happened during a colloquium at around 4:30 p.m. The session, held via Blackboard Collaborate, featured an alumna who was describing her experience at a study abroad program in Indonesia last year. 

“Omg miss you’re so pretty,” one student said in the event’s chat while the woman was speaking.

The comment was followed by a crude retort by someone who logged in using an alias.

“Pretty enough to f*ck,” the comment read. 

In a phone interview with The Reporter Friday afternoon, Honors College Dean Eric Hoffman said the College will continue to investigate the incident. 

“This type of behavior is unacceptable,” Hoffman said. “We have to treat each other with respect and courtesy. This is not indicative of The Honors College.”

Several hundred scholars from The Honors College—housed at North, Kendall, Wolfson and Eduardo J. Padrón Campus—attended the colloquium, entitled Opening Doors to the World: Study Abroad Opportunities

Colloquiums are hosted every two weeks and include educational enrichment chats about scholarships, study abroad programs, inspirational speakers and more.

Students at The Honors College must abide by the Honors Code, a document outlining how to be responsible members of the cohort. It is introduced during their freshman orientation and included in the syllabus for every required interdisciplinary leadership course.  

The comment appears to violate items three and four of the Honors Code:

3. Honors College students will demonstrate honesty, integrity, fairness and human dignity in all levels of academic and personal activities, and refrain from plagiarism and dishonesty.

4. Honors College students will comply with the rules, regulations, procedures, policies, standards of conduct, and orders of the College, its schools and departments.

In an email to students Friday morning, Hoffman said the incident can be considered sexual harassment, cyberbullying or academic dishonesty.

If the person who made the vulgar comment was a student, not just someone who crashed the event, Hoffman said they could face disciplinary action. It’s unclear at this time what those sanctions could be. 

The College hopes to prevent similar situations from happening at future events. Hoffman said they are considering creating unique links so students can’t use aliases when joining virtual events or developing a system that identifies who each attendee is. 

“This type of behavior will not be tolerated at MDC or The Honors College,” Hoffman wrote to students in the email.