PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas – A picture of a white Prairie View A&M Student with her face wrapped in black tape has drawn ire nationwide, prompting school administrators to address the issue Thursday.
A spokesman for Prairie A&M confirmed to KPRC2 that the woman in the picture is currently enrolled as a freshman at the university and is a member of the soccer team.
The picture, which the student posted to social media, shows her face covered with black tape, with the caption, "When you're tryna fit in at your HBCU." HBCU is an acronym for Historically Black College and University.
In a statement, Prairie View A&M President George C. Wright acknowledged the picture and the backlash it's received, writing, in part, "we have a duty to educate our community to always try to act in a responsible manner and recognize that speech does have consequences."
The picture has since gone viral, with calls, by some, for the student's expulsion. Students on campus gathered Thursday night to discuss the matter and brainstorm ways for the campus community to unite following the response to the picture.
"The slander and stuff like that, it's just not how you respond to things. It's just bad. You don't do people like that," said Christopher Light, a junior at Prairie View A&M.
Other students expressed discontent with the picture and questioned why it was posted in the first place.
"Why would you do something that you know people are going to feel a certain type of way," said Bryant Harris-Williams, a sophomore.
"She was wrong for doing that," said Jada McCoy, a student.
School administrators said the campus would discuss more about the picture Monday.
In a statement, Wright said:
"As a scholar of race relations in the United States and president of Prairie View A&M University, whose alumni, students, and many supporters have experienced firsthand racial insults in the form of words, caricatures and a wide range of other actions, I know clearly the hurt and harm that can be done from intentional and unintentional acts of this nature.
"Let me be clear that, whether intentional or unintentional, the actions have the same impact, and as a community, we denounce any racial slight whenever it occurs.
"But let us not forget that the First Amendment ensures that discussion of even the most controversial and provocative issues will be vigorous and unfettered on our campus—without it, there can be no search for truth.
"We have a duty to educate our community to always try to act in a responsible manner and recognize that speech does have consequences.
"For 140 years, this university has maintained a standard of excellence and will continue to be a beacon of light for years to come."