Two students of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater were branded as racists over a social media post after the college’s chancellor mistook their facial masks for blackface.
Chancellor Beverly Kopper issued a widely circulated message and a statement on the school’s website, in which she criticized the two students, who had sent a Snapchat image of themselves wearing exfoliation masks, as being “hurtful and destructive.”
Understandably, the students were shocked to find themselves labeled as racist just for a simple skin-care routine. According to the chancellor, the students looked regretful and indicated they had no idea their attempt at exfoliation would be construed as discrimination.
Soon after the statement was released, State Sen. Stephen Nass, who is also the vice chair of the Senate University and Technical Colleges Committee, denounced Kopper’s hasty reaction, saying her message had misled students, parents and the public into believing an instant of racism had occurred, even though no such thing happened.
“The racial overreaction of Chancellor Beverly Kopper and other UW-Whitewater administrators without first checking the facts of the situation is a stark example of how political correctness has warped the mindset of highly-educated university administrators,” the senator said. “Frankly, these are the people responsible for educating our sons and daughters, but they seem incapable of applying reason or common sense.”
However, the damage had already been done. Members of the university’s Black Student Union group have already called for the administration to look into how the incident highlights racism issues on campus, with some even requesting a mandatory racial training class for white students.
Last year, something similar happened at the University of Wisconsin-Madison when the institution published an absurd list of all the phrases students and faculty were banned from saying on campus as they were construed as "microaggressions."
Some of the phrases that were included in the list are “I believe the most qualified person should get the job,” and “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.” The full list has since been deleted from the website.
Another case occurred at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa where two students were suspended for wearing purple makeup on their face for an alien-themed party.
Although, there can be no denying the fact that racial discrimination exists in universities, it is still unacceptable to jump to conclusions and start a witch hunt against innocent students without first being aware of the facts.