Six Hamline University students, all football players were suspended last week from the team by school authorities for wearing blackface and dressing as African tribesmen for an off campus Halloween party. Photos of the students, with a derogatory caption were placed on the social-networking site facebook.com.
In an e-mail to the entire student body, Hamline University President Linda Hanson said the actions by the students was very disturbing and that the University was carrying investigations to determine if there would be a judicial hearing for the actions.
“While racism, ignorance, and intolerance indeed exist in society today, and we cannot control the actions of everyone in our community, it is important that we respond. We are working to be a dynamic and actively inclusive community. We are–and throughout history have been– a diverse community of learners dedicated to creating an environment free of harassment and discrimination. This incident re-doubles our commitment and conviction to ensuring that Hamline is a welcoming environment, infused with respect for differences and diversity”, President Hanson’s e-mail read.
The action of the students sparked mixed reactions among Hamline community members. Some students feel that the situation might have just been blown out of proportion, while others strongly feel that the students’ actions were very offensive.
Two cheerleaders, who helped the players with the make-up and costumes are also under investigation by University authorities. If the investigations show that University policy was violated by the students, they could be suspended from the University.