COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — The University of Maryland is under fire after one student claimed that she found multiple pictures of students in blackface in the school’s yearbook.
Several yearbook photos surfaced online of past UMD students in blackface. Freshman Shani Kalua saw them Friday for the first time.
“It doesn’t look right,” said Kalua. “I don’t understand why someone would think that would be okay.”
A student posted the photos to Twitter saying she “went on a mission at work to find blackface in old UMD yearbooks and it only took 5 minutes.”
“When I’m here, I don’t feel different from anyone else,” said Kalua. “But it just feels like they’re making fun of African-Americans.”
“I’ve just been seeing people give excuses for it but there is no excuse for blackface,” said senior David Ogundipe.
The school president, Wallace Loh, tweeted out in response, saying the images were “profoundly hurtful and distressing. Traditions like this reflect a history of racial prejudice and do not convey what we seek to embody today.”
Freshman Rileigh Hallberg voiced his concern with the issue.
“Now that I know it was at our school, obviously it’s awful,” he said. “and I just don’t know- it just makes me feel uncomfortable.”
Students like Hallberg told WJZ that it’s disappointing.
“It’s not a good thing,” he said. “it’s not a reputation you want to have at your school.”
The university’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion also responded to the photos on Twitter, saying that the images were “shocking for some, and traumatizing for others.”
They also said that the images do not reflect who they are today.