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October 17, 2007 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

Four CC Players Suspended For Blackface Incident

CHN Staff Report

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Four Colorado College players have been suspended for two weeks for wearing blackface during a team party in September.

The players are senior captain Scott Thauwald, sophomores Andreas Vlassopoulos and Brian Connelly, and freshman Brett Wysopal.

The players will be on disciplinary probation the rest of the school year.

The players apologized to the campus community, and met with the local branch of the NAACP and Urban League. The players also must take diversity training courses.

The incident occurred at the team's annual preseason golf outing on Sept. 8 at Valley Hi Golf Course. The party had a theme — TV shows — where the players were to dress up. This foursome chose the TV show "Family Matters," about a black family, to be their theme, and wore wigs and makeup.

"Colorado College must be a diverse, respectful community, where we value all persons and seek to learn from their diverse experiences and perspectives," CC president Richard Celeste said in a statement. "Several weeks ago, an incident in which students engaged in inappropriate and offensive behavior violated this core value. The college took this situation very seriously and acted as quickly as possible to take substantial disciplinary action and create opportunities for dialogue."

"The intent was to have good costumes," Thauwald told the Colorado Springs Gazette. "We realize now, even though there was no racial intent, that what we did was wrong. We’ve all learned a lot through the last couple of weeks, and we’ve apologized to the school and the people we directly affected, and I feel like a lot of the students were pretty welcoming to our apology. We made a mistake."

"It was a constructive experience because I thought they were open," Rosemary Harris of the Colorado Springs branch of the NAACP said to the Gazette about meeting with the players. "It was people coming together around the table to do what we so often don't do, which is talk honestly about race in this country. ... I walked away feeling it wasn't going to be swept under the rug, and I felt these students fully expected that it would not be swept under any rug."

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