Zyahna Bryant, a celebrated Black Lives Matter activist at University of Virginia, is accused of damaging a White UV student’s reputation over a comment she is alleged to have overheard.
Bryant claims she heard Morgan Bettinger, at a July 2020 protest for George Floyd, refer to protestors as “speed bumps” and threatening to run them over. The alleged wording was to the effect of, ‘It’s a good thing that you are here, because otherwise these people would have been speed bumps,’ Reason magazine reported.
Later, Bryant admitted she may have “misheard” the comments.
But that was too late for what happened to Bettinger because of the accusations and the attacks that the woke mob unleashed on her in an endless torrent of social media posts and attacks. She was decried as a Nazi, she was investigated by her school and there was a bid to have her expelled, according to Reason Magazine.
In the year that followed, Bettinger was the subject of multiple investigations. One of them, from the UJC, would find her guilty of “threatening the health or safety” of students. As punishment, she would be expelled in abeyance—meaning that she was allowed to continue her schooling, but that a second violation of the same standard of conduct would likely result in actual expulsion. She also faced a litany of other sanctions.
While Bettinger eventually graduated from the university, she did so with a permanent mark on her record and a destroyed reputation.
But despite two separate investigations, there’s no evidence beyond Bryant’s allegations that Bettinger said protestors would make “good fucking speed bumps” or that she threatened the protesters at all.
Bettinger denied she made the threat. A student-run investigation agreed with Bettinger’s, not Bryant’s, version of what transpired. A separate investigation by the school’s civil rights office concluded that none of Bryant’s allegations had sufficient evidence to support them. Bryant’s most damning claim—that Bettinger had told protesters they would make “good fucking speed bumps”—had no corroborating witnesses, even though it allegedly occurred in front of a crowd of more than 30 people. Reason reviewed additional documents previously not made public, all of which back up the findings of the investigation.
But none of this would come out until nearly a year later, in June 2021—with the results of the investigation kept largely under wraps. The only story that most UVA students heard, the one repeated over group chats, Twitter threads, and Zoom meetings with almost manic fervor, was Bryant’s.
This is the story of a rumor mill that rushed to collective judgment, a pervasive climate of anger and outrage, a weak campus administration, and a unique higher-ed justice system that faltered just when it was most needed. It’s the story of a woman who was informally ostracized and formally sanctioned for a story that seemingly everyone on campus had heard and believed, but which was never proven.
It is unclear, at this point, what consequences Bryant will face.
Reason shares that while Bettinger was ultimately vindicated, the damage to her reputation has already been done and she is planning a lawsuit against the school.
In fact, UVA found “insufficient evidence” for every one of activist Zyahna Bryant’s claims, concluding that it was “more likely than not” that Bryant never heard Bettinger call protestors “good speed bumps” at all.
— Emma Camp (@emmma_camp_) April 21, 2023
This wasn’t a misunderstanding. Bettinger was targeted & harassed by a woke mob because woke mobs always react that way when they think someone present isn’t “one of them”.
Zyahna Bryant did not witness Bettinger anything but constantly lied about it & drove everything.
— dekachin (@dekach1n) April 29, 2023