Students say 'blackface' photo was really facial

Posted at 5:18 PM, Feb 18, 2016

WHITEWATER -- Racism concerns are being addressed at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater after a photo surfaced on social media with two students in what appears to be blackface.

It’s a dorm room photo at the center of a heated debate.  It went viral after students shared it on Snapchat and Facebook.  It appears to show two students in blackface, but the UW-Whitewater chancellor says it wasn't blackface - it was a beauty treatment.

"They indicated they had no negative intention, that this was a facial,” explains Chancellor Beverly Kopper. “They expressed remorse, not realizing the reaction that would come from this post."

Members of the Black Student Union don't buy that explanation, and say racism is something they deal with all the time.
"I think in this case, they need to have some sort of educational course," suggests Black Student Union member, Matthew Wade.

Nicole Rindy doesn't see any harm done and doesn't get the backlash.

"I think they're taking it too far. They’re just trying to be innocent,” believes Rindy.

The chancellor hasn't discussed disciplinary action towards the students. Instead, she calls the snapshot "a teachable moment." Members of the Black Student Union agree a lesson should be learned.

"It’s important for me to hear that and then to develop an action plan, and we will,” maintains Kopper.

The university claims it will address this particular incident on campus.  And Kopper's already started a program called "Pizza with the Chancellor". Around 80 students attended the first night. Many shared stories and concerns. But not all students think it's enough.

"Feeding us isn't going to solve it. Having more "pizza parties" isn't going to solve it,” says Black Student Union member Ju'Jaraw Singleton.