Whitworth announced the five players have been suspended for Wednesday's game against Carleton College.
A shocking photo taken by a student at Whitworth University is raising questions about racism and insensitivity. The school says the students in the photo have apologized, but the community isn't happy about what it saw.
A student at Whitworth University posted the controversial photo on Instagram and Facebook showing members of the women's soccer team dressed up as the Jackson 5, wearing black face and afro wigs. The party wasn't associated with the university, but Whitworth posted a statement on Facebook Tuesday.
The actions of Whitworth’s students always reflect upon the university, whether taken in conjunction with Whitworth-sponsored events or outside of sponsored events. In response to an off-campus, unsanctioned Whitworth social event held last evening, a small group of student-athletes dressed up as the singing group, The Jackson 5, appearing in blackface and wearing afro wigs. In response to this incident, please read Chief Diversity Officer (and VP for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) Larry Burnley’s remarks to our campus community.
Dear campus community,
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. Our nation and our world experience daily the pain and marginalization felt by people of diverse social backgrounds 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 last evening. Photos from the event were posted on a personal Facebook page. Constituents from both the campus and external communities have expressed concern with the photo’s content.
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.
Whitworth has absolutely no tolerance for the type of behavior demonstrated. Moved and driven by our mission, President Beck A. Taylor has recently said, “Whitworth’s commitment to diversity stems from a Christ-centered heritage that compels us to love justice and to treat every individual equally with respect and compassion. It is through the inclusion and experiences of others, often from diverse viewpoints, that we often see more clearly dimensions of life different than our own.”
Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have further questions or concerns regarding this situation.
Lawrence Burnley Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Chief Diversity Officer
The young woman who posted the photo has since deleted both her Instagram and Facebook accounts.
I'm offended by those who are offended. I have spoken to my (well what should I call them since whatever I call them someone will be offended by it) "black", "african american", "colored", "of a different race", "of a different color" friends and NOT one of them were offended by what these students did. But some high society people didn't like it so they voiced their displeasure to Whitworth and since money talks and everything just walks Whitworth had to do something about it.
I feel the greatest apology needs to be made to the 5 students who are being portrayed by Whitworth and now the media for being racist and insensitive. I heard this news story twice and went to this site (1st time ever) to truly TRY and understand what is the issue? I have NO issues with race whatsoever but because I was in a play when I was younger and we dressed up as a black family, does that make me racist and insensitive? I think not. Disappointing moment for Whitworth admin to say the least.
Oh.My.God.... you can't dress up as the Jackson 5 now??? Whitworth, get a clue. This isn't about racism or diversity. It's college kids dressing up in costume. It would be different if they were dressing as random African Americans in blackface... They're the Jackson 5 for crying out loud!! Suspended for that? This is PC rum amok! I'm disappointed in Whitworth's response.