Indiana University removes 'black Santa' bulletin board

10:17 AM, Dec 4, 2013   |    comments
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) - Indiana University investigated and removed a public bulletin board that asked, "Could Santa Claus be a black man?"

Students began spreading photos of the bulletin board on social media. Once university officials got wind of what was going on, they began tweeting to students that they were investigating.

The bulletin board was designed by member of IU's Community Education Program (CEP).

"(The CEP tries) to get  students to address and talk about difficult issues. Racial issues, issues of sexual identity, things like that," said university spokesperson Mark Land.

In addition to asking if Santa could be a black man, the bulletin board asked if a black Santa would only go to the ghetto, and whether people would let a black Santa down their chimney.

"If you just saw the board and you walked by, you're thinking, 'what the heck are they doing? This is not right,'" said Land. "There was no intent to offend anyone and we are really sorry if that was the result of this. We were just trying to spark a conversation and I know it wasn't the one that they wanted."

When freshman Makail Dugan saw the board, she says she was immediately offended.

"I posted it on Instagram and so did a lot of other girls that live in Foster. A lot of people were really upset about it," said Dugan.

Dugan was glad the University had the bulletin board taken down. She says there are better ways to discuss the issue of race.

"Everybody should have a free discussion, race appropriate questions. That definitely wasn't the way to do it," said Dugan.

Around 11 p.m. Monday, the university tweeted a series of comments about taking down the bulletin board:

Regarding a controversial bulletin board at Foster Quad: There was a misguided effort to generate discussion about racial stereotypes. (1/3)

The sign is being removed. The intention was to educate, not offend, but we recognize the problem and apologize to everyone effected. (2/3)

This incident has generated a lot of discussion on important issues. Thank you to everyone who shared their concerns with us. (3/3)

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