Civil Rights Group Calls for Ending Federal Funding to The Citadel After …

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Citadel investigates ‘disturbing’ photos of cadets with pillowcases on heads.

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Citadel has suspended seven cadets who appeared in photos with pillowcases over their heads similar to Ku Klux Klan robes. Photos showing cadets from Charleston-based military college, The Citadel, posing in white KKK-style hoods have prompted an investigation and suspension of the freshmen involved.At least eight students at The Citadel military college in Charleston, South Carolina have been suspended after photos of them dressed in white hoods surfaced on Facebook Wednesday night. The military college announced Friday that eight students had been suspended – seven cadets seen wearing the pillowcases and an upperclassman who was not dressed up. Photos appeared on social media this week showing seven freshmen cadets, called knobs because of their short haircuts, wearing white T-shirts and white pants with the pillowcases on their heads.

The school’s Board of Visitors has agreed to remove the Confederate Naval Jack from Summerall Chapel but that move requires approval from the South Carolina General Assembly under the state’s Heritage Act. Rosa was quick to explain the incident as a group of students “singing Christmas carols as part of a ‘Ghosts of Christmas Past’ skit,” that excuse looks even flimsier when considered in the context of the school’s racist past. Melvin said “activities that led to this social media posting were not a mistake and should be dealt with severely because symbols matter.” “This is not the first, second or third time that racially charged events have been documented to have occurred at The Citadel,” he said on Facebook. The Post and Courier recalls an October 1986 incident in which five white Citadel cadets “entered black student Kevin Nesmith’s room wearing white sheets and towels, and shouting racial insults. They left a charred paper cross in his room.” According to a Washington Post report about the incident, Nesmith was one of 31 black students in a freshman class of 651.

Wendell Gilliard said in a written statement that such an act, just across town from the Emanuel AME church where nine people were shot and killed last summer, adds “insult to injury.” Dylann Roof, a white man who posed with a Confederate flag for online photos has been charged with killing the nine black parishoners. The woman confessed that he had told her he “always wanted a black girl.” Having discovered the photos, she felt “offended” and decided to post them on Facebook. “Would anybody else take this as really just singing Christmas carols or supposed to be dressed up as ghosts? ‘Cause in my opinion that’s not what it looked like at all,” the woman told ABC. The cadets who terrorized him were not expelled—instead, Citadel officials ordered them “to walk 195 hours of punishment.” Nesmith, however, resigned from school citing continued racial harassment.

Hazing has from time to time put the college in the limelight and novelist Pat Conroy wrote about it in his book “The Lords of Discipline” — a fictional account based on his Citadel experiences in the 1960s. Race relations have been an acute issue in Charleston after a church shooting on June 17, 2015, when a gunmen opened fire during a prayer service, killing nine people including the senior pastor. Only this year did the Citadel form a “Diversity Council,” aimed at “promoting a culture of inclusion and equal treatment on campus” for minority cadets, who now make up 22 percent of the student population. Melvin, chairman of the Citadel Minority Alumni Group, summed everything up, sadly, in a statement yesterday: “Much more needs to be done to address the culture that continues to house recurring prejudices against minority cadets.”

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