MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) — It’s the picture that was taken and posted to Snapchat by Freshman Sarah Harper. It appears to be two people wearing rain ponchos that look like KKK robes and hoods. The caption of the picture reads “Newest members of the Kstate Kool Kids”.
“I thought it was kinda dumb that they had to bring in K-State to something like that, because that’s not a very good representation of who we are,” student Brianna Shock said.
K-State officials are saying the same.
“Just because an individual posts something on social media does not represent Kansas State University,” Vice President for Communications and Marketing Jeff Morris said. “People have freedom of speech they can do whatever they want on social media.”
Morris said if posts target individuals on campus or if a student breaks the student code of conduct, that’s when they’ll take action.
“And to do that we have a process we go through to determine that,” Morris said. “Then there would be disciplinary action taken on the student depending on what it was,” Morris said.
Last year, University of Kansas cheerleaders took a picture referencing the KKK and were suspended from the team.
But regarding the K-State picture, Student Body President Jack Ayers said there’s something more important to take from the picture.
“Let’s look at how does this impact the way to which we’re moving forward,” Ayres said.
Morris and Ayres agree on a takeaway from the picture as well.
“Words have meanings, regardless of intent,” Ayres said.
“The outcome we hope for is that the student learns and that the people around us learn and we come together better as a community,” Morris said.
Facts are still being gathered by K-state to decide what actions, if any, will be taken against Harper.
One of Sarah Harper’s relatives, Craig Robinson, said it didn’t even cross Sarah’s mind that people would see it as a KKK reference.
Robinson said Harper is distraught.
“It was an act that was not well-thought through, that was not intended to be some kind of racially charged message,” Robinson said.
He said he too hopes this is a lesson for everyone to think before they post online.