Kansas State on Thursday disavowed a student’s racially offensive Snapchat post, saying there is “no place for racism at our university.”
The selfie, which appeared to be posted by Paige Shoemaker, showed two young women in blackface with the words “Feels good to finally be a n—-“
That kicked up a social media storm, with senior software engineering major Desmund Weathers tweeting the photo along with the words “Welcome to Kansas State University. Where breakfast in the morning is some K-State Family with a side of Racism.” The tweet drew thousands of retweets.
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Weathers, who is black, also tweeted: “But I’m supposed to walk into my classes feeling completely comfortable with people on our campus who think like this?”
Weathers told USA TODAY the behavior was not an isolated incident. He said he was shocked by the backlash two years ago when the Black Student Union held a “die in” after black teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., an incident that touched off protests across the nation. He said some students then used the anonymous social media app “Yik Yak” to post racial slurs.
“I posted (the Snapchat post) on twitter to not only vent a little but to show people that this mentality still exists on Kansas State’s Campus,” Weathers said.
Pat Bosco, dean of students, issued an open letter saying all members of “the K-State family” should be treated with respect.
“This photo has students, faculty, staff and other members of the K-State family upset,” Bosco said. “It rightly should, as there is no place for racism at our university.”
Bosco lauded the school’s Black Student Union for its work in race relations on campus, but he did not mention any specific discipline or other action stemming from the offensive post.
“We must do better, and we will do better,” the letter concluded.
“Her words and actions certainly do not reflect the values and principles of Zeta Tau Alpha,” the statement said, adding “Our Fraternity’s membership includes women of many races, nationalities and religions and we all strive to seek the noblest in every endeavor.”