CSU will not punish students who used blackface in picture shared on social media, citing First Change

Colorado State University officials say a picture circulating on social networks showing students presenting in blackface does not breach university rules or guidelines which the students included will not be penalized.

The photo, which started making the rounds over the weekend, reveals 4 students in blackface– some smiling, some crossing their arms– with the caption “Wakanda forevaa,” a referral to the “Black Panther” comic book and film.

Late Tuesday, CSU President Joyce McConnell sent out an e-mail to the trainees, staff and faculty of the Fort Collins school to resolve the situation.

“Since of the long and awful history of blackface in America, this photo has actually triggered a lot of discomfort to members of our neighborhood,” McConnell composed. “We have spoken with much of you– and we hear you. We respect your voices. We understand that images like this one– whether consciously racist or not– can perpetuate intentional racism and create a climate that feels deeply hostile.

“We likewise verify that personal social networks accounts are not under our jurisdiction. Our community members– students, faculty and personnel– can normally post whatever they want to publish on their personal online accounts in accordance with their Very first Modification rights.”

The letter goes on to say that while the image runs counter to CSU’s principles of neighborhood, it does not break any university guidelines and the involved trainees will not be penalized.

Some students on social networks revealed outrage about the university’s reaction, calling it disappointing and “gross.”

CSU trainees post themselves in blackface, and the president of the university sends out and email to students stating people can publish whatever they wish to publish. As soon as once again, CSU disappoints me.

— Shaylur™

(@Shaylur1)September 11, 2019 Some trainees who go to CSU posted images on Instagram in blackface. This is very humiliating, and I am ashamed that they go to our school. To put the cherry on leading the school can’t even punish them. Gross.

— Graeme Schroeder (@grvyschrodinger) September 11, 2019

Tony Frank when something bad occurs: a nazi is a nazi is a nazi ~ New CSU President Joyce: some individuals posted blackface pictures all over social networks all we can actually do is speak about it … OKAY @ColoradoStateU Tony Frank would NEVER

— hamm (@Rhiannon_Hamm) September 11, 2019

CSU said that while the university can’t take punitive actions versus the trainees, campus leaders can help inform and speak about race and identity.

“CSU is an university committed to respecting every member of our community and to facilitating conversations that can promote sincerity, discovering, and healing,” McConnell wrote. “We are all here at CSU to discover, and our company believe that this can be a powerful knowing moment that leads to recovery and reconciliation. We advise every member of our community to listen, and to hear, all the voices that make up this fantastic, diverse school household so we can move on together, stronger than ever.”

This situation was not the very first time CSU has remained in the spotlight recently over race-based issues.

In April, a CSU senior accused “Ram Handler” employee and university officials of victimizing her and other students of color.

In 2015, two Native American bros were pulled from a campus tour after a parent contacted us to report them due to the fact that they were “quiet” and using dark clothing. The American Civil Liberties Union required CSU amend its school policing practices following the circumstance.

The university stated more information will be shared next week about scheduled occasions and conversation dealing with the blackface concern.

Blackface in academic settings ended up being a national discussion earlier this year after the discovery of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook page, which featured a picture of a single person in blackface and another wearing KKK robes.

The Democratic governor initially admitted to being in the image and then recanted a day later on, yet acknowledged he had actually used blackface around the exact same time as part of a Michael Jackson dance contest.

Days later on, Virginia’s chief law officer, Mark Herring admitted to using blackface at a college party.

The discussion prompted The Denver Post to reveal pictures in decades-old Arapahoe High School yearbooks showing trainees wearing hoods that looked like those of the Ku Klux Klan. Littleton Public Schools knocked the images as “abhorrent and offending.”

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