Scholarship News

Citadel College Cadets Caroling in KKK Hoods?


December 10, 2015
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Photos of seven Citadel cadets singing in white hoods surfaced on social media - Hoods that very closely resembled those worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan. The seven students claimed they were singing Christmas Carols and that the hoods they were sporting were intended to help them portray the Ghosts of Christmas Past for a skit. Whether their resemblance to the KKK was intentional or not, the Citadel Minority Alumni Facebook group was not amused.

Photos of seven Citadel cadets singing in white hoods surfaced on social media - Hoods that very closely resembled those worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan. The seven students claimed they were singing Christmas Carols and that the hoods they were sporting were intended to help them portray the "Ghosts of Christmas Past" for a skit. Whether their resemblance to the KKK was intentional or not, the Citadel Minority Alumni Facebook group was not amused.

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The Citadel's Lt. Gen. John Rosa took to Facebook with a statement of his discontent stating, "these images are not consistent with our core values of honor, duty and respect," and were "disgraceful," "offensive and disturbing." All the members of the group were identified and suspension proceedings are already underway.

A person with knowledge of the incident and the school's rituals between underclassmen and seniors claims that, based on the way the men were standing in the photo, they are likely to be freshman, or "knobs," and this is a form of hazing. Despite the group's intentions, the girl who made the Facebook post was "threatened, harassed and offered money from numerous Citadel Cadets to take it offline in order to not 'ruin their lives.'" The woman was approached by a male on several social media platforms, reportedly telling her "I always wanted a black girl." Though she ignored his advances, his Snapchat feed showed the photos and videos of the Citadel cadets singing and laughing and so she "screenshotted and decided to share because [she] was so offended."

Discussions have been ongoing at The Citadel's minority alumni pages and graduates agreed with Rosa's statements but want to see further action take place to show students their behavior is not acceptable. In your opinion, how should the administration respond to this incident? Should there be punishment of the perpetrators beyond suspension? How would you handle this situation if you were on the disciplinary committee? Leave us your thoughtful comments below.

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Timothy M.  on  12/29/2015 11:27:42 AM commented:

Because this incident occurred in a pace where this was sought offensive, I do believe it could've been done differently. Even though they did say it was to resemble "The Ghosts of Christmas Past", it still was not okay to do. To elaborate, a group of Caucasian homosapiens dressed in white cloths with a point at the top of the hood would greatly be mistaken for a KKK trick. More Halloween instead of Christmas, huh? However, I am black, or Afrikan-American, and I do believe that unless there was any aggressiveness towards the neighbors, this shouldn't have been as controversial as it is.

Mustascheo  on  12/16/2015 7:57:30 AM commented:

Good Lord. Now some kid who throws a sheet over their head with eye holes for Halloween will be accused of being the local Grand Dragon.....

Marcus N  on  12/16/2015 7:31:18 AM commented:

Maybe those students were genuinely trying portray ghost of Christmas past, but because of South Carolinas history I believe they should have went about it another way. South Carolina, especially in the Charleston area was a very historical place for slaves and where many lost their lives. For the citadel to be in such a historical place, people have to be careful of what is said and what is done there because historically it is a sensitive place to be for an African American. There could be black students that have attended or currently attend school at the citadel who have had ancestors that have had bad experiences with the KKK. We just have to be mindful of what we do and what we say so that everyone living in the Charleston area is comfortable with where they are living and who they're living around. If not, there will always be a controversial debate on what is right and what is wrong. I am black.

Jeremy Lucaci  on  12/15/2015 4:32:16 PM commented:

Everything offends people nowadays

Kumiel N  on  12/14/2015 3:48:15 PM commented:

This is a a gray area as the saying goes. Perhaps Rosa was overreacting but then again perhaps she was not. If those students were indeed just portraying ghosts then the act was as harmless as they claim it to be. Then again if it was just a portrayal why the backlash and threats from various students when she posted it? Why would she be offered money to take it down if it was not meant to be an offensive act? In the end those students could have just dressed in Christmas colors and sang Christmas carols, there was no need to dress as ghosts that resembled KKK attire. Rosa was right in feeling intimidated and offended.

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