Georgia State University student-athlete Natalia Martinez was suspended from the university’s soccer team Jan. 19 after using N-word on her Finsta account.
Finsta is a term for an alternative private Instagram usually shared only with select friends.
India Bridgeforth, a Georgia State student, began the petition to expel Martinez, gaining over 181 signatures earlier that week. The numbers increased to over 500 signatures by Jan. 15. Martinez was a freshman defender from Florida, who was petitioned for expulsion by other Georgia State students after getting exposed.
“I have just started a petition for the [expulsion] of a student at Georgia State University. Our mission statement states that we provide an outstanding education and exceptional support for students from all backgrounds and these Panther values are not concurrent with the very disturbing statements made publicly by the GSU freshman and soccer player,” Bridgeforth said. “Please support our effort in keeping our university a positive, hate- free environment by signing this petition,” Bridgeforth wrote as she asked for other students to sign the petition.
Bridgeforth told WSB-TV that students felt the post was “kind of a slap in the face, especially considering how many students of color are here.”
Atlanta-based Georgia State University’s sports communications office released a statement saying, “We do not tolerate the language the student used in her post. Pursuant to out student- athlete code of conduct, she has been suspended from the soccer team.”
The petition went on to garner over 700 signatures before Georgia State announced Jan. 22 that Martinez has withdrawn from the university.
Christina Maxouris is the editor-in-chief of the school paper, the Georgia State Signal. “It’s been the talk on campus, it has upset a lot of the students on the diverse campus,” she said.
On the same day during the week of Jan. 19, University of Alabama student Haley Barber,19, from New Jersey, was expelled from the university and dismissed from her sorority, Alpha Phi. After posting offensive videos on her social media account. In the video, Barber was shown stating the n-word multiple times, “I’m from New Jersey so I can say n- as much as I want,” Barber said in her video.
"Ms. Barber is no longer a member of Alpha Phi,” said Linda Kahangi, executive director of Alpha Phi International Fraternity. Barber later made a statement, “I did something really bad, I don’t know what to do and I feel horrible. I’m wrong and there’s just no excuse for what I did,” she said.
Barber’s social media account has been deleted.