Statement from Southeast Missouri State University President Carlos Vargas Regarding Collegestats.org Study

Southeast Missouri State University has recently been named by collegestats.org in a study analyzing derogatory and racist language used in Tweets.  The University has made numerous attempts to contact those involved in conducting this study at collegestats.org to no avail.  A listed phone number rings numerous times with no answer, while the address for the organization is listed as a post office box.  Our research has failed to find a valid social media or physical presence, thus making it impossible to contact the company to validate the findings.

The study purportedly reviewed Tweets within a three-mile radius of the campus, which in the case of Southeast Missouri State University would cover the entire city of Cape Girardeau.  While the population of Cape Girardeau is 38,000, it is a medical and retail hub with more than 100,000 visitors to the community daily.  The Tweets referred to in the study could be attributed to anyone visiting the community as opposed to specifically the students enrolled on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University.

While no place in society is immune to derogatory speech, we take intolerance, racism and sexism very seriously on our campus. Hate speech and bigotry are in no way tolerated at Southeast Missouri State University. Southeast has made enormous strides in the past in strengthening diversity education on the campus and bolstering a diverse, respectful, and welcoming campus climate with a number of diversity initiatives.

We, along with other higher education institutions listed in this report, believe that collegestats.org and its work are suspect, considering the methodology used to determine the validity of the findings have not been made available to us.  We are continuing to work with several of the other higher education institutions listed in the report and with our legal counsel to correct the misleading information that collegestats.org is perpetuating.