Student Body President apologizes for racial slur ‘hiccup’

Lydia Moneir

Student Body President Joseph Turner could be heard saying the word “n—–” while encouraging senators to explore the Nature Trails as he addressed the entire Senate from behind the podium at the Oct. 13 Senate meeting.

Turner told the Spinnaker during a weekly press briefing on Oct. 17 that he was unaware his mistake was being understood that way until the day after the senate meeting.

Turner said, “Immediately after hearing that, I…listened to the senate recordings and I was honestly shocked about what I heard and to the best of my recollection I had a nervous hiccup…and mispronounced ‘Nature Trails’ at first, corrected myself.”

Turner said he will put out a statement to everyone who was in the room to say he cannot be more sorry.


“I would like to apologize emphatically to anyone who is in any way offended by what my mispronunciation…if it in any way led to anyone be offended,” Turner said.

Senate President Kaitlin Ramirez said she heard the offending word. She said she did not know if there was going to be an investigation into the matter.

Ramirez said Senate Pro-Tempore Shomari Gloster, who was present at the Oct. 13 meeting, was not at work the day after the senate meeting, and told her he was out on bereavement.


Turner said Gloster raised the issue and Turner spoke to him this morning.

“We had a very productive conversation and he understands where I was coming from and he sees what happened, and I think he adequately understands how apologetic and how sorry I am,” Turner said.

The Spinnaker contacted the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity at UNF to find out if they are investigating the issue and Director Cheryl Gonzalez said, “[We] don’t discuss anything until it’s over.”

The Spinnaker contacted Gloster Oct. 18 at 7:48 p.m. through his personal number and has not yet received a response.

Turner sent out an email apology to members of the Senate on Oct. 17 at 12:52 p.m. The email reads as follows:

It has recently come to my attention that there was an issue relating to the perceived use of a racial slur on my behalf during my Senate report on Monday night. During my report, in between saying “Beachfront” and “Nature Trails” I had a nervous tick that, I was told sounded like a racial slur. Immediately upon hearing this, I listened to the recording and was shocked to hear the play back. I acknowledge that what can be heard audibly on the recording could be construed as something derogatory. I would like to apologize emphatically to anyone who was in anyway offended by this. I cannot express how sorry I am that this nervous hiccup, while trying to pronounce Nature trails, may have in any way caused someone to be offended. It is not in my nature to make such comments, it is simply not who I am. I cannot be more displeased that my stutter and mispronunciation caused anyone to be offended.

If you would like further clarification or would like to talk to me about this, I am more than happy to meet with any of you regarding this matter.

Email Lydia at [email protected]

*10/17/14 at 1:21 p.m. – Updated with audio from Oct. 13 senate meeting.
*10/17/14 at 1:53 p.m. – Updated with video apology from Oct. 17 weekly press briefing. Update with Turner’s email apology to members of the Senate.
**10/17/14 at 3:23 – Clarified with method of communication