University College London is facing a backlash to an initial backlash after "snowflakes" took offence to a tweet which was accused of being racist.

On Monday, when parts of London were still blanketed in snow, the university's official Twitter account confirmed it would still be operating fully with this tweet: "Dreaming of a white campus? Our campuses will be open and operating fully today, Monday 11 December, so please make your way in as planned. (We can't guarantee snow but we'll try!)"

The wording of the tweet was criticised by some people on Twitter for its ambiguous racial meaning. One critic said: "This has a completely different meaning in universities in the southern USA. Be careful what you wish for."

Another paraphrased the lyrics of the Bing Crosby song: "I'm, dreaming of a whiiiiiite campus, white like they were many years agoooooo. All stu-dents Caucasian, not a campuuuus, heavy-laden, with browns, blacks and other minoritieeeeeeees."

A third played the Hitler card, replying: "You know who else dreamt of a white campus? Hitler, that's who. Disgusting."

As the online backlash grew, UCL tweeted an apology: "We chose our words very poorly yesterday when thinking of this song. We're sorry and we'll choose our words more carefully in the future."

But that apology just threw more fuel on the fire. The tweet received many more replies than the first and many complainers pointed out that it was obvious that the original tweet was referring only to snow. Some called the people offended by the first tweet "snowflakes".

Twitter user Luke Dawson said: "I'm offended that some people can possibly be offended by this! It's just a few young people desperate to have their shouting voices heard."

Another, Martin Brooks, said: "Umm, you should apologise for apologising. The correct response to those people who complained was "Grow up".

And Kenny Young asked: "What? Are you mad? Who has managed to convince you that they were offended? It cannot be true."

Another user said: "It's absolutely barmy that you feel the need to apologise for referencing a song about snow at Christmas when there was, errr, snow at Christmas. In a world full of real problems, why the hell is this an issue?"

Dave Simmons said: "Actually more annoyed at the fact you felt obliged to apologise for that!"

Other criticisms included calling the university, "pathetic", "embarrassing" and "absurd" while others said the university authorities should "grow a spine".