When some users tried to log in to a Wi-Fi network near Iowa State University, they noticed a racist Wi-Fi name pop up as one of the options, KCCI reported.
They then filed complaints to the Ames Police Department, according to the station.
The network name is “Hang that N-----!,” according to a screenshot taken by the Des Moines Register.
“It is awful,” Ames police Cmdr. Geoff Huff told KCCI. “I think it’s offensive to me. I think it’s offensive to most people.”
Huff told KCCI that it has received “multiple complaints” about the name.
But police cannot do anything about it because it is protected by the First Amendment, police told the station. The First Amendment’s freedom of expression gives people the right to freedom of speech, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
“Unfortunately, it’s not illegal to be a giant a--hole,” Huff told the Register.
In May, Iowa State released results from its climate survey. In the survey, nearly one in every five people who responded “reported experiencing exclusionary, intimidating, offensive, or hostile behavior based on ethnicity, gender, identity, or position status,” the Gazette reported.
Twenty-eight percent of those who said they experienced that behavior were “respondents of color,” the report states, and 31 percent were “Multiracial respondents.”
“As we’ve seen, higher education is a microcosm of the general American society,” Dan Merson, the survey facilitator, told the newspaper. “Racism exists. Sexism exists. … These things exist here. They’re happening here.”
In 2012, a Wi-Fi network with a racist slur was investigated by police at a New Jersey recreation center, the New York Daily News reported. The network was named, “F--- All Jews and N----,” according to the report. The police department told the newspaper it would investigate it as a “possible hate crime.”
Also in 2012, BBC reported about “the rise of passive-aggressive Wi-Fi names.” Some of the names mentioned in the report include, “Stop Mooching our Internet!” and “Stop slamming the door!!!”
Earlier this year, an Illinois coffee shop opened with the Wi-Fi password, “ipromisetoneverbuystarbucksagain.”