The photo featured four CMC students and one Scripps student in Halloween costumes, with two white girls dressed up like Mexican stereotypes with sombreros and maracas. One of the girls in the photo happens to be Kris Brackmann, ASCMC Junior Class President and a student-athlete. She is seen at the bottom in her costume as a dancer in Justin Bieber‘s “Sorry” music video.
The photo started making its way around social media when CMC student Casey Garcelon reposted the photo on her Facebook condemning the racially insensitive costumes.
The caption read, “Dear Claremont community, For anyone who ever tries to invalidate the experiences of POC at the Claremont Colleges, here is a reminder of why we feel the way we do. Don’t tell me I’m overreacting, don’t tell me I’m being too sensitive. My voice will not be silenced. I’m mentally drained from being a part of this community and I’ve had enough. If you feel uncomfortable by my cover photo, I want you to know I feel uncomfortable as a person of color everyday on this campus.”
The post initially received a ton of support, getting over 100 shares on Facebook and 600 notes on Tumblr. However, the girls in the photo immediately asked for Garcelon to take it down after getting a ton of backlash on the racist nature of the costume. She refused.
On Monday afternoon, CMC junior Taylor Lemmons added to the conversation by posting an essay online about her experiences with racism at the California college and asking Brackmann to resign as class president.
When the ASCMC Senate met on Monday night, many students of color attended the meeting to talk about their concerns over the photo.
One student who serves on Brackmann’s junior class council explained that she took offense to Brackmann simply asking to be cropped out of the photo. Apparently, Brackmann wrote to Gracelon, “I fully understand your decision to keep the photo up, but could you please crop me out of it? It associates me with something I also think is offensive and a lot of comments have been targeted at me, by people who think that I was part of the group costume. I don’t want this to compromise my role and legitimacy as class president.”
ASCMC President Will Su was informed of the situation and decided to ask Brackmann to resign, saying, “I’d just like to express to the student body that ASCMC finds this completely irresponsible, and I don’t think she can effectively represent students in her class.”
On Tuesday morning Brackmann announced her resignation in an email to the school:
“As a bystander I did not assertively speak out against the costumes, despite knowing that they were disrespectful. Even worse, I associated myself with the offensive message by willingly standing in a photo with the costumes. My actions poorly represented me as someone who is supposed to represent all students. I am regretfully sorry to have been associated with this harmful incident, and after thoughtful consideration I have decided to leave my position as the Junior Class President.” [from The Forum]
This follows many other college campuses around the country battling racism. President Tim Wolfe at University of Missouri left the office earlier this week after students protested his handling of racist events on campus. At Ithaca, students are calling for President Tom Rochon to resign for not making the campus an all-inclusive environment.
Here’s footage of CMC students protesting the lack of support from the administration.
IMO, asking Kris to step down when she wasn’t even wearing the costume is a bit dramatic. What do you think?
We’ve reached out to Kris for comment.
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