PROVO, Utah, Oct. 28, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Officials with Brigham Young University in Provo are investigating after a communications student allegedly showed up at a costume party wearing blackface.
The BYU newspaper, The Daily Universe, reported that the student, wearing blackface as part of a football player costume, took part in a Halloween contest in the BYU AdLab on Thursday. The AdLab is a university-sponsored advertising agency.
Students at the event complained to the school’s director, the newspaper said, and word of the incident spread among students and on social media as a inter-campus “Kerner+50” diversity symposium was being aired by all three campuses the next day.
Edward L. Carter, Director of the school of Communications for BYU, told the BYU newspaper that the situation was brought to his attention by a group of students.
The student’s behavior, according to Carter, appeared to be out of line with BYU’s Professionalism Statement. The student could face repercussions including warning, suspension or removal from the communications major, a Friday statement from Carter to BYU faculty, staff, and the students who reported the incident, said.
Carter stated that he met with the student who wore the costume as part of the investigation, and also met with the group of students who brought the incident to his attention.
Carter said he has already discussed the idea of mandatory diversity training for students and faculty, especially those participating in a professional lab like the AdLab.
He said all of faculty and staff, as well as students, have been urged to read the Diversity Statement on BYU’s website. That statement says, in part: “We categorically oppose prejudice and reject behavior that excludes, marginalizes or is derisive of others and we unreservedly affirm principles of justice, inclusion and equity. Faculty, staff, and students have a shared responsibility to promote a positive environment that is welcoming of all peoples.”
After the meeting, the student posted an apology for his costume on a social networking app, the BYU newspaper reported.
Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is made available.