BYU student may face discipline for costume party choice

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Brigham Young University . Photo Courtesy: BYU

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.


  1. Byu is correct to discipline the racist behavior conducted by this student as discussed in the article. Go to a racially divisive college in the south if you want to get away with bigoted behavior that has been and still is acceptable to white supremacists.

  2. First, this was NOT blackface. Come on! Blackface has a very specific meaning and connotation — it was an awful performance routine in the late 19th to early 20th century, where whites would apply pitch black makeup on their faces, and try to make themselves look and act as buffoonish as possible with the intent to disparage and make fun of all black people specifically because they were black.

    Wearing a football player costume, along with makeup to look African American, is NOT blackface. Form all I could gather in this article and the linked article, there was ZERO motive here to make fun of and insult anyone at all, much less an entire race. So let’s get some perspective here, folks.

    Second, Carter seems to be applying a very wide-open interpretation of the Professionalism Statement. So wide that it could similarly be applied to anything anyone does wrong in any way. (Of course the student apologized. His entire academic future is on the line here. He has no choice. At BYU, you will never win your case, so you must submissivley comply and hope for mercy.)

    The Statement is clearly aimed and focused on big items like cheating, lying, stealing (personal use of school property), plagiarism, and violating non-disclosure agreements; and repeated occurances of smaller items of unprofessionalism such as not paying attention in class and being uncivil to others.

    There is only on bullet point in the Statement under which this single act of supposedly being insensitive could fall.

    “Students who demonstrate flagrant or intentional disregard for conflicts of interest or professional codes of ethics may be dropped from the major or not allowed to apply. Examples of such behavior may include – but are not limited to – using school facilities for personal, commercial, or political use or for violating non-disclosure agreements or inappropriately sharing proprietary information.”

    It would be, in my opinion, quite a stretch to define this incident as a disregard — a FLAGRANT disregard — of some kind of a professional code of ethics. I assume the examples given are honestly intended to paint a picture of the kind of behaviors they intend for this to cover: personal, commercial, political use of school facilites, handling of non-disclosures and proprietary info.

    But, the “may include – but are not limited to” verbiage allows this policy to be abused to apply to any behavior at anytime by anyone.

    BYU gets my alumni donation no more. Its leftist creep has creeped too far.

    Side note: I wonder how many students that are offended by this, are equally offended by Ben Stiller, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon’s “blackface” (not actually blackface) routines.

  3. Dave:

    Your comment about the sourh is inappropriate and indicative of very ignorant people that don’t even live in the south. I’ve lived here my entire life and southerners are no different than anywhere else in this country. You can find what you’re looking for here and anywhere.

    I think what you need is some good old fashioned southern hospitality to calm down that very ignorant spirit you’re carrying around. I recommend you start with some good old fried chicken with mashed potatoes, brown gravy, fried okra, homemade creamed corn, & a big butter roll. You could finish it up with sweet potato pie smothered in whipped cream. I’d suggest some watermelon, but I won’t because people like you would accuse me of making fun of black people.

  4. I think this is an opportunity to teach not condem. I am sure he didn’t mean any harm. I only discovered a couple years ago that “black face” was considered offensive. It isn’t as wildly know as some people would think.


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