CHARLESTON, SC – Earlier today The Citadel announced they’re punishing 14 cadets for controversial photos that sparked outrage across the country.
Monday afternoon Citadel President Lt. Gen. John Rosa explained the controversial photos.
Back in December people said the pictures of cadets look the Ku Klux Klan.
After a sit down with the Citadel’s president today, we got a better explanation about what the cadets were doing in the photos, and now what the Citadel is doing to improve diversity education on campus.
Rosa explained, “The three different nights leading up to December 9th, they tried to dress as elves, reindeers, toy soldiers and nut crackers.”
Because the freshman cadets can’t leave campus, they used what they could as Christmas carol props.
Navy Captain Geno Paluso, Commandant of Cadets, said, “We did determine that the initial intent of this was to be the Ghost of Christmas Past; it was not racially motivated.”
The cadets were singing, ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,’ but should have been studying, according to Rosa. “In the second stanza there, ‘There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long long ago,’ through the investigation this is where the cadets got their idea for the costumes that night.”
Rosa says, eventually, the cadets realized what they were doing but didn’t stop. “The second they thought it was going to be offensive or could be misconstrued they should have stopped and that was the leadership failure.”
Fourteen cadets now face punishment ranging from on-campus penalties to expulsion for the remainder of the year.
Those in charge at The Citadel also say they’re setting up a task force to focus on campus climate for minority students and to increase diversity at the Citadel.
Elder James Johnson of the National Action Network said his civil rights group is satisfied with the investigation. “We will be working with the Citadel 100%.”
NAN spokesperson, Victoria Melendez told News 2, “We have withdrawn the request for his (Rosa) resignation due to the fact that we are now very pleased with his disciplinary action towards the cadets.”
However, NAN says there is still more work to do, like taking down the confederate flag in the Citadel’s chapel.
The National Action Network also want cadets to learn the history of the Citadel, scholarships for five minority students a year, a program to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr., and the Citadel to be more involved with Title 1 schools in the area.
As part of the partnership with the Citadel, four National Action Network members are assigned to continually work with the school to improve race relations.