FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Colorado State University President Joyce McConnell spoke before a crowded ballroom of students following a blackface controversy. Students say the recent blackface incident is the latest in a string of racist acts on campus.
McConnell’s address marks the first time a CSU official went beyond an email to publicly talk about a social media post showing four white CSU students in blackface. The picture surfaced last week and has since received national attention.
The female student in the picture says the black substance was anti-blemish cream, but words on the photo turned it racial with a reference to the "Black Panther" movie, the cast of which is almost entirely African-American.
“We will show the world that we can come together and that we can make this a place where all students thrive,” McConnell said.
The First Amendment prevents CSU from punishing the students, according to McConnell.
“We’re just tired of it,” said CSU student Kobi Truesbale.
African-American students told FOX31 racism and bigotry are nothing new on campus.
“I want to thank you for taking your time to come to see the new president and help me understand what has gone on before I arrived,” McConnell told the students.
Fourth-year CSU student Gisele Bair says the university’s email response to the blackface episode was the ‘straw the broke the camel’s back.’
“So much more can be done, still,” Bair said. “An email is not going to do anything.”
Minority students made clear on Wednesday that the post is painful.
McConnell has called on the student body and faculty to propose initiatives aimed at combating racism on campus.
“This is an opportunity for students to come together, to hear from one another,” McConnell said.
For those who say the frustration on campus has been blown out of proportion, African-American students who spoke with FOX31 say people who don’t have black or brown skin don’t know what it’s like.