ADL Praises Clemson President for Quick Action on Campus Race Incident
Atlanta, GA, January 31, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today commended Clemson University President James F. Barker for launching an investigation of an offensive student theme party mocking African-Americans.
Pictures of the party, held over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, showed white students mocking blacks by wearing black face, dressing in hip hop clothing and drinking malt liquor.
"The behavior of the students involved was so offensive and inflammatory that it could quickly have spiraled into a major racial episode on campus," said Bill Nigut, ADL Southeast Regional Director. "But by publicly condemning the party and quickly calling for an investigation, President Barker has hopefully shown that the incident doesn't represent the attitudes about race held by most students on the Clemson campus."
"This unfortunate episode points up the need for ongoing education on the college campus to ensure that students fully understand America's history of racism and the consequences of unchecked bigotry and hate," Nigut said.
In a letter to students and faculty, President Barker said he was "appalled, angered and disappointed by the party." He pledged that the university is "willing to do anything to make this right."
Mr. Nigut said that ADL, which offers programs to teach appreciation of diversity on college campuses across the country, would welcome an opportunity to help the Clemson administration overcome this ugly incident.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.