Liz Foster ’22 and Kat Namon ’22
Several of the images posted on the @whiteattrin account, which has generated controversy this past week for its name, methodology, and attacks on students at Trinity, were not related to Trinity College and do not depict Trinity students, a Tripod investigation has revealed.
The two photographs, now known to be unrelated to the College, were posted on Thursday, June 25 as part of a package allegedly sent to the New York Times which suggested that the individuals featured were members of Alpha Delta Phi (AD) and St. Anthony Hall-Epsilon.
The Tripod has confirmed the two photographs featured in this screenshot conversation are not from Trinity College. The first image, showing a student drinking from a dog bowl, came from the University of New Castle in Sydney and was featured in a Huffington Post expose in 2018. The University of New Castle photograph was originally captioned with the phrase “What’s it like to be white at Trinity? No rules. That’s what it’s like” and claimed to depict an AD member. The second photograph, which featured a male student in a cage, came from Hofstra University’s Sigma Pi fraternity according to the Hofstra Chronicle in 2016. The individual in the image was alleged to be a member of St. Anthony’s Hall.
@whiteattrin claims to have had contact with the New York Times who—based on the screenshot—reached out for a story concerning “drug use within campus Greek life” and sought “any other information” that the account plans to release. The reporter received a response of “check out @blackattrin and @trinsurvivors” from @whiteattrin. The legitimacy of the direct messages between @whiteattrin and the New York Times has not been verified at this time.
The account has targeted a number of Greek life members and organizations at Trinity this week, including one student who was suspended in 2018 after using a racial slur and his girlfriend who was accused of “running from the gram” following a racial incident at a McDonald’s. The @whiteattrin account also implicated a “captain of the swim team” for sexist, racist, and homophobic behavior and threatened to release 2014 hazing footage from the Ivy Society, a sorority at Trinity.
Earlier in the week, the account had temporarily removed its original content and has featured screenshots that depict conversations between a reporter for the Hartford Courant. @whiteattrin criticized the Courant, stating that “one minute your paper is calling a Black professor a terrorist for exposing a whiteness at Trinity now all of a sudden you’re [an] activist trying to cover a story. Sorry honey, you guys are 2 years too late.” The comment, which appeared to reference an August 2017 Courant article, concerned Facebook comments made by Professor of Sociology Johnny Williams. The Courant later reported on the social media controversy that had erupted Monday afternoon.
Chief of Staff to the President Jason Rojas, commenting on the ongoing investigation, told the Tripod that the College’s “Campus Safety team is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all of our students.”
Following its initial attacks on members of St. Anthony’s Hall Sunday evening, the account made multiple comments toward the AD fraternity and indicated that they should “expect us.” The Stella Society, a sorority at Trinity, was also criticized for hazing and for being a “sorority with no letters.” Several of its members were also described as being “shaped like spongebob [sic]” by the @whiteattrin account. It was also implied that the Stella Society “makes their pledges strip naked while they body shame.” None of these claims could be independently verified.
President of AD Henry Mockridge ’21 added that “the picture in the post by whiteattrin [sic] has nothing to do with AD at Trinity. No current or former member of AD is in the picture.”
Rojas told the Tripod that the investigation, initiated by President of the College Joanne Berger-Sweeney Sunday evening, “continues to collect and actively investigate digital information from social media platforms and other sources.” Rojas indicated that the College is also “conducting interviews and securing statements from multiple parties who have agreed to assist with the investigation as we review the allegations of online harassment and cyberbullying.”
The Tripod also contacted members the Stella Society and the Ivy Society and will update this story if comment is received.
St. Anthony’s Hall has been contacted but has not issued a comment as of Friday morning. However, they did indicate to the Tripod that a comment would be forthcoming earlier this week.