MOORHEAD — A Concordia College student has been sucked into the national political fray after a video of her uttering racial epithets and a white supremacist slogan with the former president of a student chapter of a national conservative group surfaced.
Concordia student Lily Saxton is seen in an undated video she said is from "a few years ago" with Riley Grisar, then-leader of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas chapter of Turning Point USA, a conservative nonprofit that has recently come under fire for alleged racist practices.
Grisar is seen in the 10-second video throwing up the "OK" sign, a hand gesture that has come to be associated with racist ideology.
"White power," Grisar says, sitting on a bed next to Saxton.
"We're going to rule the country," Saxton says immediately after. "White power, f--- the n------."
The video has been shared online by a number of left-leaning social media accounts and took off on a large scale after being shared on Facebook by Occupy Democrats and on Twitter by It's Going Down, a self-described "revolutionary anarchist" news platform. It has since drawn condemnation from many, including the nonprofit Grisar was once a student leader for.
Turning Point USA tweeted late Thursday, May 9, that it moved to permanently remove Grisar from the organization, describing his statements as "abhorrent, un-American, and disqualifying." The group also commended the UNLV chapter's leadership for acting quickly to remove him from the group.
While the video only started to receive wider attention on social media Friday, May 10, the Concordia student body and officials at the college were already aware of the video at least a week before.
In a May 3 statement, the Concordia College Student Government Association condemned what Saxton and the former Turning Point USA chapter leader said in the video.
"The Concordia College Student Government Association states today and always that we condemn the actions and message that this video contains and portray, and reaffirm our alliance with our minority students on campus," Student Body president Sara Villalobos said in a statement emailed to the student body.
The school's Chief Diversity Officer Edward Antonio said in a later statement that the school was aware of the video and was working to "address the matter." It is not exactly clear what action the college is taking with the student.
College President William Craft issued this statement Saturday, May 11: "Last week, Concordia College became aware of a social media post that includes racist language. This matter was addressed immediately through established college policies and procedures. Concordia rejects racism in all its forms and is actively committed to diversity and inclusion. We stand with those who are singled out and targeted by this post."
In a Snapchat post, Saxton apologized for what she said in the video, saying she was drunk at the time and had been "forced" to say things she did not believe. She also claimed to have been targeted by threats.
"For over a year now I have been harassed and sent many threats and it has deeply affected my life," she wrote.
Saxton said she deleted all social media accounts and was going home to get "help."
Posts on social media indicate Saxton has ties to the Las Vegas area, including a 2015 fundraiser dance performance for the Faith Conservatory of the Fine Arts, part of the Las Vegas Faith Lutheran Middle School and High School.
An earlier version of this story stated Saxton apologized in a Friday Snapchat message. It is not clear when the post was made.