College of Charleston Graduation (copy) (copy)

Family and friends gather during the College of Charleston Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 16, 2015, at the Cistern Yard. Students plan to protest in the Cistern Yard Friday in response to a video that surfaced online. File/Staff

Students at the College of Charleston plan to walk out of class Friday to protest a video showing students from the public school joking about slavery.

The video at the center of the controversy was posted Thursday on Twitter after students complained the administration had been slow to respond. It shows white males riding in the back of a pickup truck through a wooded area.

"Yessir, we out here in the country about to go visit my slave farm," one voice says.

"Leroy, I told you to get back to the plantation house," someone says later in the short clip. A caption on the video identifies the location as Francis Marion National Forest. 

College spokesman Mike Robertson confirmed Thursday that the video was shot during a First Year Experience class on the natural history of the Lowcountry. No faculty member was present at the time the comments were made, and when the college learned of this incident Tuesday, it immediately launched an investigation, Robertson said.

Thursday afternoon, College of Charleston Interim President Stephen C. Osborne sent an email to students saying the school's Division of Student Affairs was investigating the incident.

"This week, I learned of a social media video that was deeply offensive and featured racist statements that made light of our country’s historical wrongs regarding slavery," Osborne wrote. "These disturbing comments run completely counter to our core values of integrity, respect for the individual student, diversity and community."

Anaya Waugh, a freshman at the college and member of the Black Student Union, said in an email that students plan to walk out of class and protest in the college's Cistern Yard at noon Friday in response to "the racist video posted by a student here and the inaction on the part of administration."

The video surfaced amid an ongoing push for more diversity at the public liberal arts college, which has historically had one of the lowest minority student populations in the state. Osborne acknowledged in his email that the video could be a stumbling block to progress.

"We have been working hard to advance diversity and inclusion on campus, and that’s why incidents like this are so disappointing," he wrote. "We will not let this incident deter us from making more strides on our campus. Our shared work towards being a safe, more inclusive and diverse community continues."

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Get the best of The Post and Courier, handpicked and delivered to your inbox every morning.


Reach Paul Bowers at 843-937-5546. Follow him on Twitter @paul_bowers.

Paul Bowers is an education reporter and father of three living in North Charleston. He previously worked at the Charleston City Paper, where he was twice named South Carolina Journalist of the Year in the weekly category.