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Wheaton College condemns student for blackface Halloween costume

A view of Wheaton College in Norton from Route 123.DEBEE TLUMACKI FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE/File

Wheaton College’s president denounced a female soccer player for wearing blackface as part of a Halloween costume and punished her and her teammates by barring them from playing a game Saturday, effectively ending their season.

“That a student at our college chose to wear blackface as part of a racist and offensive Halloween costume raises difficult issues for all of us,” Wheaton president Dennis Hanno wrote in a letter to students and staff at the liberal arts college in Norton.

“I am particularly dismayed that this student did not act alone, but was part of a group of other individuals who actively participated in this event and then attempted to cover it up,” Hanno wrote. “This runs counter to the value that our community places on creating an inclusive and welcoming educational environment.”


As a consequence, the women’s soccer team has been barred from competing in a Division III NEWMAC tournament game this weekend at MIT, according to the letter, which a school spokesman provided to the Globe.

The team accepted the decision, which was intended to “send a clear message that racist and offensive behavior will not be tolerated at Wheaton,” according to the letter.

The student, who was not identified, attended a Halloween party on the school’s Norton campus last weekend dressed as a character from “White Chicks,” a 2004 Wayans brothers comedy, according to the Associated Press.

As part of the costume, she darkened her skin and wore a drawn-on goatee and bald cap, the school confirmed Thursday. The Associated Press reported that the student was portraying a character played by Terry Crews in the film.

“I want to reiterate that the incident that took place last weekend reflects attitudes that go beyond this one event and that is my greatest concern,” Hanno said in the letter.


A student notified several college administrators of the costume Monday evening, spokesman Michael Graca said.

A student conduct hearing process is underway regarding the incident.

Asked whether the student who wore blackface would be disciplined by the school, Graca said Thursday, “I couldn’t say that; there’s a conduct process underway.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com.