Racism is again making headlines in the low country this week after at least eight Citadel cadets were suspended. Social media photos revealed the students wearing Ku Klux Klan type hoods.
According to The Post and Courier, “The school’s president, retired Lt. Gen. John Rosa, called the images “offensive and disturbing.” It shows an upper-class cadet in front of seven cadets wearing all-white clothing and with pillowcases over their heads. Eyeholes had been cut out and one corner of the pillowcases were drawn up to form a point.”
Charleston has made national headlines twice in the past year for the shooting of Walter Scott by a police officer, and of course, the shooting at Emanuel AME Church. Understandably, the newest incident at the Citadel is drawing criticism from the community.
The Post and Courier quoted State Rep. Wendell Gilliard as saying ““This heinous act was committed in close proximity to Mother Emanuel AME Church, and with the recent Walter Scott shooting, this adds insult to injury…This action by the cadets warrants nothing short of an expulsion for all those who are found to be involved in this intolerable act of hate.”
Suspension proceedings began immediately for the accused cadets, and the College is currently investigating further. While the accused claim they were participating in a skit dressed as ghosts, the photos suggest otherwise.
The Citadel has faced this type of situation many times in the past. The Post and Courier states that in March of 2013, “former Citadel cadet Jordyn Jackson told The Post and Courier that she was a victim of racial harassment at the military college almost from the moment she walked through its doors the previous fall. She was the target of racial epithets and racist notes. She quit the school rather than endure more insults.”