President Hatch emailed this message to students, faculty and staff on March 23:
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
I learned of an Instagram post last night that has created deep concern and anger among many members of the Wake Forest community and the Winston-Salem State University community. While the intent of the authors may have been a parody of a national issue, it was deeply offensive and unacceptable.
The impact on the community is widespread and harmful, regardless of the original intent. We are gathering details about this incident. What I can share with you at this time is that the student in the image was away for the weekend and did not participate in posting the image. He is not running for Student Government President. A team led by the Dean of Students is investigating the matter further and will report their findings to me.
I am deeply troubled by this incident and have called my colleague Winston-Salem State University Chancellor Elwood Robinson to express my concern. The message disparaged an institution whose values and mission we embrace and with whom we are building increased collaboration that brings our communities together. Chancellor Robinson is a dear friend.
I would like to thank the students who called the post to our attention through the bias reporting system and am grateful to students, faculty and staff who have shared their personal experiences with me.
I encourage each of us to redouble our efforts in the days ahead to listen to and support those who are hurting.
Nathan O. Hatch