Black mask photo and caption leaves college students in an uproar


MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) — Students at Kansas State University are in an uproar with a photo one K-State student posted on Snapchat on Tuesday. One student said seeing actions like this sets the time back 150 years.

It started with the photo Paige Shoemaker posted who’s on the right side of the photo in the video above. Then it made its way over to Facebook where Kansas State University was tagged. Shortly after that the post was shared to many students on campus.

“We want people to know this is not blackface. We did not paint our faces intentional,” said Paige Shoemaker.

“In this era, why do we need to keep educating people on a university that’s diverse,” Kansas State University Student, Lani Sandoval asked. “Do you know what I mean? There’s no reason to keep educating people and for her to actually post a picture like that.”

Sandoval says the Snapchat was like “a bullet to the heart.”

One K-State student reached out to KSNT News and told us he contacted the school’s President who told him to email the photo and his reaction to the post.

“You have to be careful about what you do, especially when you’re held to a certain standard,” Kansas State University Student, Ron Smith said. “With us being Kansas State students, you can’t joke about stuff like that.”

After Smith sent his email, the school investigated the incident and sent an email out to students, faculty and staff.

“We have a very defying process that we follow,” Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Jeff Morris said. “We pull together our climate team and they discussed that we’re going to reach out to the students. We sent the message out to the campus community to let them know what’s going on kind of detailing our response.”

Morris said the school has to follow due process but hundreds of Facebook comments, reviews and Tweets showed people wanted more from the university.

So why did Shoemaker and friend Sadie Meier use a derogatory word in that snap?

“I mean, not that this is a good thing but we kind of like,that word kind of happens in our friend group (because) we know that everyone is calm. We’re a big family so that word does not offend anyone in our group,” Shoemaker said.

But this issue isn’t something that’s been bothering only the minorities at the University.

“I just feel like we’re being set back 150 years,” Kansas State University student, Abbey St. Clair said.

“There are a lot of steps in which they could have stopped what they were doing,” said Zach St. Clair.

Shoemaker is now expelled from the university. She did post an apology publicly on her Facebook page. In it she said, “we never intended for the picture to offend anyone. We had only meant for it to be taken in a funny way.”

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