A year after a College of Charleston Student dressed up as Freddie Gray, a black man who died in police custody in Baltimore in 2015, The College’s softball team is facing backlash for their racially charged Halloween Costumes. Word quickly spread that some Softball players dressed as Latin American migrants and border patrol agents through social media. Some are calling for player suspensions and the termination of the coach.
In a student wide email on Oct. 31 CofC’s President Stephen Osborne told “everyone in our campus community to make smart choices today and tonight for their Halloween Costumes.” He urged students to “stop and think through the impact your choice may have on another. Be mindful of offensive costumes or décor related to gender, culture, class, race and/or sexual identity.”
Just over 24 hours later, Osborne sent another email. Osborne wrote, “Despite multiple messages from members of the administration and student affairs to the student body cautioning against offensive costumes or party décor, we still find ourselves in a place of hurt today.” Osborne is “severely disappointed that something like this has, once again happened at our university.”
Additionally, SGA through an email from Dr. Alicia Caudill offered strong words. The Council of the SGA wrote, “We, the Student leadership condemn any ideology of hatred, white supremacy or simple ignorance.” The SGA extended its hand to the community writing, “to all the students harmed by this, especially our immigrant, Latinx, Hispanic, and Spanish-speaking students that we, as your student leaders are here for you. We are here to offer unconditional support…”
Osborne mentioned that the Softball has issued apologies to the Athletic Director and to him. Additionally, the team will undergo diversity and inclusion next week. He has also together a commission including Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Renard Harris, Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Alicia Caudill and AD Matt Roberts to construct campus initiatives to discuss the incident.
Osborne “cannot stress enough that the College of Charleston is a university where all are welcome and all will be respected regardless of race, gender, political ideology, religious affiliation, and/or sexual orientation and identity. Osborne concluded his note saying, “I have faith that we can be better and will do better moving forward.”