‘You go to a black people school…’: UNLV’s student body president apologizes for racist tweets posted years ago

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — UNLV’s student body president Hannah Patenaude has apologized for racist tweets that she posted in 2013. In the tweet, a person said his belongings were stolen from the school, and Patenaude responded by telling him in part, “You go to a black people school…”

Patenaude’s comment was a frustrating, stereotypical statement that didn’t sit well with UNLV students 8 News NOW spoke with.

That tweet, along with another tweet in which she said, “I hate being racist, but everyone ‘dark-skinned’ *wink wink* I follow is tweeting about TLC and Keke Palmer,” was posted years ago while Patenaude was in high school.

“To forgive, eh, ok, sure. But, to forget: No,” said Shakiya Hollis, the president of the Black Student Organization at UNLV. “I don’t think that she should necessarily resign, but I do think that there should be repercussions,” said Hollis.

But, for many students, Patenaude’s younger age does not excuse her behavior.

“I do believe that it was at a time where she was old enough to know the difference between right and wrong,” said Kendall Gilliam, a sophomore at UNLV.

On her Twitter page, Patenaude apologized by saying, “There have been a few tweets that have surfaced from my account from 2013 that I deeply regret. They do not reflect my views, and I attribute moving to the west coast and attending UNLV to my growth as a person. My understanding of diversity and the experiences of POC has changed drastically, and I continue to learn more everyday about others’ perspectives.”

Other stories similar to the one involving Patenaude have poped up across the country. And the question remains the same: Should someone be held accountable for something they wrote years ago?

“We can’t hold everybody to their past, but at the same time, just because you cry and say I didn’t mean it; how do I know that you’re actually being for real,” Hollis asked?

“I’m 6-foot-3-inches, 250 lbs., so I fit the criteria of, you know, what they like to paint as the violent black person or the evil black man,” said Gilliam. “I would hope that over time, she’s realized that black people shouldn’t be generalized in such a way.”

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