(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Representatives from a civil rights group are calling for the president of The Citadel military college in South Carolina to step down and for all state funding for the school to be cut off after a group of students dressed in all white are drawing similarities to the Ku Klux Klan.
The students involved in the videos, which were sent over Snapchat, have been suspended, the school confirmed to ABC News. Elder James Johnson, state coordinator of the South Carolina National Action Network (NAN) chapter, wants them expelled. NAN is a national civil rights organization founded by Reverend Al Sharpton in 1991.
“The Citadel itself seems to me that they want to keep the tradition of racism,” Johnson told reporters Friday. “That’s why there’s not many blacks applying to this college.”
The school responded to the calls for Rosa to resign by supporting his work for the school and “proper, rapid response.”
“On behalf of The Citadel Board of Visitors, Lt Gen John Rosa and his staff are uniquely qualified to lead our college as action is taken to impress upon our cadets that actions have consequence,” Lt. Gen. John B. Sams, the chairman of the Citadel Board of Visitors said in a statement released to ABC News.
Johnson said that his group will be contacting the U.S. Justice Department “to look into this matter” and is calling for all public funding to end.
Sati Firestone, who does not attend The Citadel, screen grabbed the Snapchat video and posted the controversial photos on Facebook, told ABC News that she thinks “[the school’s] morals and the values that they instill have nothing to do with what the kids chose to do on their own.”
The Snapchat videos showed eight cadets dressed in white with white pillow cases on their heads. They were singing Christmas carols as the “Ghosts of Christmas Past,” Firestone said. They were singing Christmas carols as the “Ghosts of Christmas Past.” Some have said the outfits evoke the white capes worn by the Ku Klux Klan.
Firestone said that the students acknowledged the similarity between their outfits and the Ku Klux Klan in the videos that she saw.
“In the video, somebody does comment and says it’s not what it looks like, [that] they are dressed up as ghosts instead of white supremacists,” Firestone explained.
Firestone barely knew the cadet who sent her the videos, saying that she linked up with the cadet on dating-site Tinder Wednesday morning.
Firestone said that she “didn’t know what to think” about the videos, and posted screen grabs of them on Facebook to get reactions from her friends.
On Thursday, Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, president of the prestigious military school, put out a statement saying that he found the posts “offensive and disturbing.” Suspension proceedings were started immediately and the investigation is ongoing.
“These images are not consistent with our core values of honor, duty and respect,” Rosa said.
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Recent posts in National News