Updated as of June 6 at 1:15 p.m. to include Meta's community guidelines.

Akilah Weaver ’00, Elon Black Alumni Network president, said she is not surprised when she sees online trolling. Her response was no different when a parody Instagram account, Elon White Alumni Network, was brought to her attention.

The account contains posts dedicated to “celebrating white excellence at Elon University” and “triggering and trolling” other users who are upset by the rhetoric promoted on the page. In the account description, it also contains the hashtags “WeAreEwan” and “parody.”

EBAN, along with other users on the platform, responded on Instagram pleading for the removal of the account and stating their issues with what its content stands for.

Elon Black Alumni Network's response to the troll account for "Elon White Alumni" on Sunday, June 4 encouraging members to report the page and remove the account.

Weaver said when she attended Elon 23 years ago, she faced racial discrimination as a student. While she said she doesn't regret attending Elon, Weaver said she was different from most of her classmates racially, financially and politically. She said being a Black woman, there were many occasions where she took the opportunity to educate her white classmates when they were ignorant to racial issues. 

As a student, Weaver was a member of Elon’s Student Government Association and said she faced discrimination when serving in that role from other students outside of SGA. 

“We would get stuff like this all the time,” Weaver said. “I was in school in the ’90s, they weren't sending emails, but they would send hate letters to us.”

Weaver said she believes the best thing to do is not give accounts like this any energy, as its goal is to create anger. While Weaver agreed that feeling anger in response to seeing posts making fun of EBAN is a fair response, she said reporting the account and moving on is the best course of action. According to its website, EBAN’s goal is to unites and represents the interests of Black alumni by empowering, connecting and celebrating Elon’s Black community.

“I'm not gonna lose sleep over this. Nobody got hurt, this doesn't impact our organization,” Weaver said. “So why are we bringing attention to it?”

Weaver said she feels the university is ultimately responsible for any next steps regarding the account. La’Tonya Wiley, assistant director of alumni engagement, said she was instructed to share a statement from the university — in which she said she was not available for an interview. 

“Elon is aware of this account, and it is in no way affiliated with the university. Elon has filed a protest with Meta, the parent company of Instagram, to remove this account and we hope to hear a response very soon,” Wiley wrote.

The community guidelines for Instagram state content will be removed and a strike will go on their account if a user shares content they do not have the right to, posts content that is inappropriate to a diverse audience, impersonates or misleads others, disrespects others or breaks the law. After five strikes, an account is disabled or removed. 

Elon News Network reached out to the account for comment, but did not receive a response after the message had been seen.

“This is so disrespectful and disappointing. None of this is an joke, this is just offensive to the black community who has worked so hard to gain representation at Elon and make the POC students feel welcomed,” a user commented under one of Elon White Alumni’s posts. “This is mocking Elon and the whole community, and it will be more disappointing to those who want to join Elon and see this page and think this is all Elon is about, and it’s not.”

Brianna Nobles ’21, social chair of EBAN, also declined Elon News Network’s request for an interview, but sent a comment expressing her pride in EBAN and the work it continues to do.

“As a recent graduate, the work we have done to better and unite the campus community cannot be undone with a single page,” Nobles wrote. “We will continue to promote the achievements and successes of Black Alumni and students.”

Weaver said as a Black alumna, EBAN was not only something she started getting involved with, but it was also a part of her identity. EBAN hosts a number of programs and events each year, with its main event being its yearly summit. 

At its yearly summit, Weaver said EBAN works to support recent graduates and with administrators to help increase Black enrollment at Elon. Weaver highlighted EBAN’s scholarship fund as it has raised close to $1 million for its scholarship fund endowment.

Weaver said an account on Instagram cannot take away from the work EBAN does, and if anything, the account served to bring more attention to EBAN. 

“I think this generation and other generations just need to know and be creative on how we combat it,” Weaver said. “And I think what's happening here is, now people know what EBAN is.”

Naomi Washington contributed to the reporting of this story.