A photo of a white female with what appeared to be black makeup on her face and the caption “black lives matter” started circulating Tuesday, with many calling for her expulsion. However, the university says the girl in the photo was using a facial beauty mask, and a friend, also a Quinnipiac University student, took the photo and wrote the caption without the knowledge of the girl in the beauty mask.
On Wednesday, Quinnipiac Provost and Executive Vice President Mark A. Thompson wrote in an e-mail to students, faculty and staff that the student who took the photo is “no longer a member of the university community.”
I am providing this update regarding the investigation and review of the facts surrounding the racially offensive photo that was posted on social media. The university investigation found that the student in the photo put a cosmetic mask on her face and was photographed by another student. The student who took the photograph added a racially offensive remark and posted it on social media without the subject’s knowledge. Given the information provided to the university, the student pictured in the photo that was posted on social media was not deemed responsible for the posting or its content. The student who took the photo, added the remark and posted it is no longer a member of the university community.
I ask that all members of our community learn from this experience and work together in ways to enhance our understanding and appreciation for one another. I also encourage your participation in various programming and opportunities that support our values associated with diversity and inclusion.
Many comments on Facebook indicate that they found the photo reprehensible, but want others to know that she is not representative of the Quinnipiac community.
It's unknown how the Snapchat photo went viral on social media in the first place.
On Tuesday, the university posted a statement on its Facebook page:
The university takes this matter very seriously and acted swiftly to discipline those responsible for the offensive photo. This incident does not reflect the true nature of our university, where we have a long history of zero tolerance for any acts of racism, hatred or bigotry.
The incident has fueled a campus-wide conversation on race, including a closed door meeting Wednesday night with university officials and members of the NAACP.
Dori Dumas of the New Haven NAACP branch told Fox 61 they met for around an hour and a half discussing how they can change the culture on campus to avoid incidents like this in the future. NAACP board members asked to be "at the table" for future discussions on race, and Dumas said the university seemed open to that.
Dumas said this will take more than just one meeting because they're looking to develop "real comprehensive strategic plans and training" to address these issues.