A football coach at Cornell University is under fire for tweeting a photo of two of his players wearing sombreros in the team’s locker room.
MECha de Cornell, a group that represents Chicano students, condemned the tweet and accused coach Roy Istvan of cultural appropriation.
Several students requested that the university seek corrective action by subjecting Istvan to cultural sensitivity training. “Will you pass a proposition to recommend a faculty/staff diversity and cultural sensitivity training? Or will you just push it under the rug as you did the Cinco de Octubre event? I expect a response to this from the Minority Liaison,” students Silvia Treviño and Matthew Indimine said.
Indimine insisted that Istvan’s tweet revealed a failure on the part of his university to ensure that Cornell faculty understand the complex sensitivities of modern society. He added: “Absolutely embarrassed to attend a university that publicly (or not publicly) supports this, and hope to work collaboratively to ensure that university communications, and all staff and faculty, receive much needed diversity and cultural sensitivity training.”
However, not all Cornell students agreed with the complaints. Gustavo Dorsett, a member of Cornell football team from El Paso, Texas, said: “I am having trouble seeing how this in any way is so offensive, if I showed this picture to my family in Mexico they would certainly laugh and be excited that our team incorporates a part of the Mexican heritage in celebrating our player awards.”
Cornell community member Steven Rodriguez also questioned the reaction to the seemingly innocent photo, asking: “Where in this photo and caption are they being racially insensitive? There are no racially insensitive descriptions. If I took a photo wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, would you have the same reaction? Don’t think so.”
“This is being blown up by sensitive people on social media who aren’t even of relevance to the Mexican culture,” Rodriguez added.
After significant pressure from the community, Coach Istvan took to Twitter to apologize for the tweet. “I am truly sorry for the cultural insensitivity and understand how our expression of pride came at the expensive of others in the Cornell community.”
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity for Breitbart. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org