Students at the College are not holding back in their condemnation of a photo that began circulating on social media yesterday afternoon. The photo, posted by a College of Charleston student, shows a fellow white student dressed up as Freddie Gray at a party. Gray was a Black man who died in 2015 as a result of injuries inflicted by Baltimore police.
Earlier today, students delivered a letter to President McConnell voicing their continued concern about acts of racism and prejudice on campus. The letter, authored by student Bria Dantzler, called for a change in the College’s values and how it responds to incidents like this.
“We are seeking dignified actions against acts of white supremacy, as they are necessary for all to understand that appropriate actions that should be taken in these very serious matters such as this. This is not a matter of agreement or disagreement on a controversial topic, but rather one of values, morals, respect, and dignity. These actions should not be seen as conducive to the values that the College of Charleston aims to uphold and therefore should not be defended, nor allowed and subsequently reprimanded. As well, additional action has been taken up on this matter to include the notification of distinguished news outlets. I ask for your speedy response in this very serious matter.”
– open letter delivered to President McConnell on Oct. 30
In addition to the letter, students have been voicing their outrage and disgust through social media and GroupMe. “No matter what prejudices or racial indifference white people may have, they should never feel so comfortable as to disrespect people of color in the manner that they continue to do, without fear of repercussion” said senior Tynishia Brown. “There is never a pass to use ‘the N-word’ or to disrespect us, I don’t care how ‘down’ you think you are.”
Sophomore Darius Evans said “I wish no harm to the students who did this, but I hope that this issue is at least addressed by the College publicly. As a minority here also, these costumes were as impious to me as it is to the family of the late Mr. Freddie Gray. I truly hope his family never sees this.”
Student organization Collegiate Curls posted an article about the incident on their site, urging students to use this form to report the photos. “We will not tolerate racism. We will not tolerate hate. We will not tolerate incidents going unchecked. It is time to put our voices to use and demand we be heard,” said Collegiate Curls.