Whitworth Condemns Blackface Incident

September 2, 2015

Whitworth University is condemning an incident in which some athletes at the institution dressed in blackface and wigs to portray themselves as the Jackson 5 for a social event. Photos were posted to social media, angering many on the campus. Larry Burnley, the university's chief diversity officer, posted a statement on Facebook that said in part: "Whitworth University is imbued by its Christ-centered mission that informs our value for diversity and our demonstrated commitment to providing students, faculty, staff and guests with an environment that is safe, welcoming and respectful of all cultures and identities …. It has been brought to the university’s attention that several students from our women’s soccer team dressed in blackface and with afro wigs in an attempt to depict the musical group the Jackson 5 at an informal event held at a local bowling alley …. The student who posted the photo has since removed it and expressed remorse for the insensitivity of the decision to dress in this manner. The administration is taking further steps to examine the developments around the students’ decision to engage in this insensitive act. It is critical that the student body and Whitworth community learn from this behavior and consider not only the real or perceived intent of such actions, but also the detrimental impact they have on members of our community, regardless of intent."

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