When a University of North Texas student went to an on-campus eatery for buffalo wings, she left with a large serving of outrage—after receiving a receipt that called her a n----r.
“I need answers,” Chelsea Shaw wrote on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, sharing a photo of the receipt from Krispy Krunchy Chicken, a fast-food restaurant in the school's student union.
The student then contacted Justin Moore, a lawyer who takes on racial-justice cases in Texas. He told The Daily Beast that the chain and the school have yet to remedy the situation—and that a lawsuit against the store is forthcoming.
“We wanted to alert the public to what happened, so they can be on the lookout and understand what’s going on,” he said.
Moore said that he and his client want Krunchy Krispy Chicken to explain exactly what happened and describe their overall practices. He also wants the chain removed from the student union.
“UNT has a job to do, and that is to make its campus accessible and safe for all students, regardless of color,” the press release reads.
According to a tweeted video interview with Bill McNeace, executive director of retail dining services, the cashier didn’t write the slur. He claims the cook did, and that dining services has already fired him.
“It was not the cashier, it was actually the cook,” McNeance says. “It became apparent, when it came out, [the cook] apologized to the manager and I think tried to find, or did find, the customer.”
UNT President Neal Smatresk corroborated his claim, writing to Shaw directly in a tweet.
“Our Mean Green family values respect and prides itself on inclusion,” he wrote. “It is completely unacceptable and not who we are as a community. We acted immediately to identify the person responsible and that person has been terminated.”
Moore says his client has a different account of what happened. He told The Daily Beast that they don’t actually know if the cook wrote the slur on the receipt. He added that the explanation seems “dubious.”
“She never saw the cook [come] from behind,” he said. “And also that the cook is black. Even if it was from a black cook or a black worker, we still believe that to be a behavior that’s unbecoming of any vendor on a college.”
This isn’t the first time UNT has received media attention for race-related incidents. Last February, the school newspaper’s editorial board published an op-ed titled “The threat of white supremacy,” after “white-nationalist propaganda” fliers appeared in multiple places around campus.
Moore said he wants the community to stay conscious of on-campus racism, especially after the recent arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks. In that incident, a Starbucks staffer called 911 on two black real estate agents who hadn’t purchased anything. They were arrested after refusing to leave.
“No student should be subjected to issues of racial animosity or harassment,” Moore said.
Allison Shapiro, Krispy Crunchy Chicken's director of marketing, said in a statement to The Daily Beast that the company condemns the behavior that occurred at its UNT franchise location.
“We greatly value and embrace people of different gender, culture, diversity, that's what makes everything great,” she said.
The company sent a rep down to the location to evaluate the situation.
She added: “We have training like this, but we are partnering with that location's management to figure out how to stop this behavior from happening.”
UNT spokesperson Leigh Gullett told The Daily Beast that the cook was responsible and admitted to writing the receipt. She added that an investigation is underway.
“The university is completing its investigating on this matter to clarify everything and we will make conclusions and additional info to the extend allowed by law upon completion,” she said.
Gullet also said UNT President Smatresk and Shaw will meet and discuss the situation soon. On April 18, Smatresk sent a statement to students.
“From listening to discussions in social media, it appears as though assumptions are being made about the race of the person responsible,” the statement read in part. “It is important to know that both the customer and employee were the same race, and regardless of other societal views it is my belief that the use of this term is never OK.”