Dickinson College is investigating an “offensive” photo of a student who dressed as Colin Kaepernick for Halloween.
A Dickinson College student has come under fire for Colin Kaepernick Halloween costume. Administrators said the costume was primarily concerning because the photo reveals that someone was pointing what looks like a gun at the student in the costume:
— Robert Littal (@BSO) October 31, 2017
Joyce Bylander, the Dean of Student Life, put out a statement after the photo circulated on the internet:
We must all understand that this action, however distasteful, is a form of free expression. However, their speech does not mean that we must sit idly by and accept their message. …
We are investigating the gun in the photo. Guns – whether toys or real – are prohibited on this campus, and that issue will be addressed.
Community members were less than impressed with Bylander’s statement and she was forced to issue an update. ” I am writing to apologize for a comment I made below (but will not edit for contextual reasons),” she wrote. “Although my intent was to clarify the college’s response to the incident on campus I, instead, used words that caused anger and hurt. For this I apologize. I know students and others were offended and I recognize that and am very sorry.”
Some suggested that the student in the costume in the photo is seated next to a Confederate flag. “So wearing black face while sitting next to a confederate flag is freedom of expression? Wow. This photo and statement is the definition of white privilege,” one Facebook user wrote.
“Black face has no other meaning besides violence against Black people. I don’t know what there is to “investigate” about this issue, but I don’t think that Dickinson can be a productive learning environment when there are people who are making threats of violence against large portions of the population, and who are using strategies associated with slavery and lynching,” another commenter wrote.
A campus spokesperson told a local news source that the college is using the incident to “encouraging continued, productive dialogue and facilitating a number of opportunities for the campus community to come together to discuss this matter.”