University investigates student who sent a racist Tinder message: 'Go back to Africa where you belong'

Elise Solé
Photo: Twitter/Myjorie Philippe
Photo: Twitter/Myjorie Philippe

A college student who allegedly sent a racist Tinder message to a classmate calling her an “ape” and the N-word is being investigated by the police and the university.

“He messaged me randomly and he said the ‘N’ word to me,” Elisabeth Philippe, 19, a student at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, told WHDH. “He went out of his way just to message me that. Like, swipe on me and say that. I asked him if he was joking and that’s when he unmatched me.”

On Christmas Eve, Elisabeth’s sister Myjorie Philippe tweeted a screenshot of the Tinder message, allegedly from a Bridgewater State University student named Frankie Walsh Jr. “Racism is alive and well people,” she tweeted. “Frankie Walsh Jr. sent my sister a sick message on tinder. Bridge State U, is this the type of people you accept into your school?”

“Listen here, you dirty a** monkey [N-word],” stated the message. “Go back to Africa where you belong. I don’t like your kind. I’m sorry we stole you ppl in the first place. I wish we never did, SMFH, you apes make this earth & MY country way much worse than it already is.”

Bridgewater State University student Elisabeth Philippe received a racist Tinder message from another student. Now the police and the university are investigating. (Image: WHDH)
Bridgewater State University student Elisabeth Philippe received a racist Tinder message from another student. Now the police and the university are investigating. (Image: WHDH)

A spokesperson for Bridgewater State University told Yahoo Lifestyle in an email, “Bridgewater State University initiated both student conduct and BSU Police Department investigations into the racist comments posted by one of our students on a private site as soon as the university was apprised of these comments on December 24, 2018. Bridgewater State University has been in contact with both the individual who apprised us of these comments and the BSU student who posted them.

“There is no tolerance at Bridgewater State University for acts of hatred. The comments are abhorrent and violate the official values statement of Bridgewater State University, as adopted by our Board of Trustees and undersigned by hundreds of employees and students. In that statement, BSU reaffirms “its own values of diversity, inclusion and equality” and rejects “all forms of bias, discrimination, xenophobia, and violence.”

Eva Gaffney, assistant vice president and the chief marketing officer, told Yahoo Lifestyle, “Because student conduct is part of their academic record, which is FERPA [the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act] protected, we cannot divulge information about that investigation.”

Myjorie tweeted the alleged student’s Twitter profile (which cannot be found by Yahoo Lifestyle) stating he works as a delivery driver for Cravings Cafe in Kingston. A representative of the restaurant tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Walsh resigned from his job.

“I didn’t realize how many people felt the same way and how disgusted they were by his actions,” Myjorie told WHDH. “There is freedom of speech and you can say what you want, but you can’t just expect no consequences for your actions. You should expect it.”

David Tillinghast, chief of police at the Bridgewater State University Police Department, tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “I can confirm that the investigation into this incident is ongoing. Because the investigation is continuing, we are not releasing any further details at this time.”

Myjorie and a Tinder spokesperson did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment. Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach Elisabeth for comment.

“What made you think that of me, just ’cause I’m an African-American?” Elisabeth rhetorically asked Walsh in an interview with WCVB. “Why did you go out of your way to swipe on me and then send me that message?”

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