Editor’s Note: The Crimson has previously published several stories concerning a photo of a Samford student that included a racially offensive caption. No information obtained by or provided to The Crimson indicates that the student in the photo knowingly participated in creating, posting, or sharing the captioned photograph. To the extent that its stories have indicated erroneously that the student in the photograph was responsible for the Snapchat post, The Crimson is happy to clarify the facts for the record.
Samford University’s student government association is making several changes to its programs and policies following an offensive photo a student posted on social media that caused backlash at the university.
The photo was posted to Snapchat Oct. 9, including a Samford student after a spray tan with the caption: “we changing races tonight.” The photo spread across social media and received widespread backlash online. According to university officials, the student in the photo denies involvement.
Samford’s administration released a statement the following day on Oct. 10 condemning the student’s actions. In response to the photo, SGA president, Heath Padgett, also addressed Samford’s student body on Oct. 16 via an email statement. Padgett said he hopes this provides an opportunity to show the impact actions can have.
“Just like small actions can have a large, negative impact, so can small actions have a large, positive impact,” Padgett said. “I encourage you during this semester to look for more ways where you personally can take steps toward engaging and learning from those who may be different than yourself.”
SGA plans to expand and emphasize current SGA programs regarding race and culture, which will be overseen by SGA’s Multicultural Affairs Committee or MAC. The committee works with the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement and the Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives.
MAC hosts programs like, Face-to-Face with Race and cultural competency workshops. These programs address race relations on campus and in the Birmingham community and help educate students and Birmingham residents about topics concerning race.
“Instances like this often come from a lack of education or ignorance, but ignorance should never be an excuse when it hurts another,” Padgett said.
Padgett plans to discuss this issue with SGA and other partners new ideas to address race relation issues on campus. Padgett plans to begin meeting with the Student Executive Board at their weekly meetings and brainstorm action-oriented goals.
He would also like to include race-based partners in these discussions, such as Samford’s Black Student Union and the Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives and receive input feedback from them on how to address these issues.
Selah Vetter is a junior from Knoxville, TN double majoring in JMC and Spanish with a concentration in print journalism.