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A Snapchatted photo of two girls in blackface, holding their hands in the “Westside W,” with the caption “Feels good to finally be a n***a,” has begun circulating online. The women have been identified as Paige Shoemaker, a pre-med and biochemistry student at Kansas State University and former member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, and Sadie Meier, senior cook at KSU’s dining services, according to Complex.
The photo was eventually shared on Twitter by a fellow KSU student, who noted, “Welcome to Kansas State University. Where breakfast in the morning is some K-State Family with a side of Racism.”
The photo has since been retweeted over 2,000 times and has, naturally, become the focus of much ire.
K-State responded to the uproar, releasing a statement by the dean of students that called the photo “racially offensive.”
“The photo has students, faculty, staff, and other members of the K-State family upset. It rightly should, as there is no place for racism at our university, regardless of what the intentions may been,” said Dean of Students Pat Bosco.
He ended the letter by noting that when it comes to inclusion and diversity on campus “…we obviously still have work to do. We are firmly committed to the principles of community at Kansas State University, and it is important that we educate our students daily on these principles. We must do better, and we will do better.”
Lyz Lenz is currently the managing editor of the Rumpus. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Jezebel, the Columbia Journalism Review, and Mashable.