NORTON, Mass. (WHDH) — The women’s soccer team at Wheaton College was punished by the school after one of the players was photographed at a Halloween party in blackface.
A member of the soccer team, who is white, was photographed in blackface as part of a costume contest at a Halloween party. She was dressed as a character from the movie “White Chicks.” College officials said the party took place on-campus at a dorm.
The women’s soccer team was scheduled to play in a tournament this weekend. Their game has been canceled in the wake of this incident, prematurely ending their season.
“As a person of color, I can that I feel pain,” said student Krystal Ssonko. “We can’t ask the question, oh maybe she didn’t know any better, because it’s 2017. Who isn’t educated on what a minstrel show is, what blackface is. There are children in kindergarten who are being educated on this topic because it is important. And it hurts me as a first-year student to see seniors who are in pain, crying, can’t attend their classes because their safety on this campus is not being protected.”
Hundreds of students have signed a petition calling on Wheaton’s administration to make some serious changes. The Black Student Association published a list of demands in response to the incident, asking for the students involved to be removed from extracurricular activities and campus employment. They also asked for Wheaton College to increase diversity among employees and enforce racial systemic oppression awareness throughout the school’s curriculum.
School officials declined an on-camera interview. They released a statement from the president reading, in part, “I am particularly dismayed that this student did not act alone but was part of a group of other individuals who actively participated in this event and then attempted to cover it up. This runs counter to the value that our community places on creating an inclusive and welcoming educational environment.”
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