American University Addresses White Supremacist's Cyber Attacks on Taylor Dumpson

BY: CRAIG STEVENS & LAUREN LUMPKIN 

Friday morning the American University community was alerted via email of cyberattacks directed toward AUSG President Taylor Dumpson. Vice President for Communication Terry Flannery said in the email that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found posts last night that were authored by a white supremacist, and “encouraged followers to troll the President of American University’s Student Government, Taylor Dumpson.” AU has dispatched law enforcement to Dumpson’s home. The American University Police Department (AUPD) has since issued a safety advisory.

While the university has not specified who is responsible for inciting the threats against Dumpson, last night an article was published on The Daily Stormer – the same white supremacist website that released Dylan Roof’s manifesto in 2016 – that encourages readers to send “[Dumpson] some words of support on Facebook, and hit up the AU Student Government on Twitter. Let her know that you fully support her struggle against bananas.” 

Pierce and Flannery responded live to selected questions from the stream’s comments. One commenter asked how the upcoming commencement events will be protected in the wake of Monday’s events. Pierce expressed a university-wide determination to ensure the safety of attendees and explained that a special event detail - which will encompass a vast majority of American University Police and Metro Police at key locations - will be on site. In addition, the University has employed about 100 faculty volunteers to serve as the “eyes and ears” for the officers.

Another commenter asked how the University is protecting AU students from online predation. Pierce noted that the Office of Information Technology (OIT) proactively monitors all American University networks, but further questions should be directed to OIT.

The duo was also questioned about any planned improvements to the University’s camera monitoring system. Flannery hesitantly responded that there are already 100’s of cameras on campus. Pierce added that the presence of cameras also function as a deterrent of criminal activity since it is impossible to monitor every live feed. Neither of the two indicated any plan to add more cameras on campus or enhance the quality of video in which the cameras record. They also noted that the University released the two videos that were deemed most helpful in identifying the culprit, but refused to confirm or deny the existence of more videos due to the ongoing investigation.    

During the live stream, Pierce and Flannery responded to a host of other comments. You can view the entire video here on the American University Facebook page.