CONWAY, AR (WCMH) – A student at the University of Central Arkansas was expelled from his fraternity after posting a photo of his Halloween costume to Instagram.
The photo, originally posted to a private Instagram account and shared publicly from another account, appears to show a white student wearing blackface and says the photo was taken at the Sigma Tau Gamma House.
“Being black is not a costume,” UCA senior Benton Johnson told KARK. “I instantly was upset. Like, I got angry because it was a clear and blanket disrespect.”
Several students say the fraternity had organized the Halloween party where the photo was taken. The university is now launching an investigation into the incident, saying that they will not speculate yet on punishment but that anything is possible.
“It goes against everything that we teach, that we believe and what we stand for,” said UCA President Tom Courtway.
Johnson and others hope that this can be a learning opportunity for everyone.
“You educate people, you let them know how it made you feel and hopefully you will take that into consideration,” he said. “Right now, the minority and the black community is really offended by this.”
The national headquarters of Sigma Tau Gamma says the student who is pictured in the photo has been expelled from the fraternity. The student, whose name hasn’t been released because he has received death threats, posted an apology to Instagram.
“I apologize from the bottom of my heart and absolutely never intended this to happen the way that it did. I never would have done this if I would have known the domino effect that follow(ed),” the apology read.
UCA’s police department is looking into the threats the student says he has received.