K-State student’s photo with KKK reference sparks social media rage

The K-State student who took a photo of two people with their white, hooded, K-State ponchos during Saturday’s lightning-delayed football game is receiving backlash on social media for her reference to the KKK.

The photo, which appears to have been taken on Snapchat, depicts two people with their cone-pointed hoods pulled over their heads and covering their faces along with the text, “Newest members of the Kstate Kool Kids.”

The photo has since been shared via Facebook and Twitter, receiving hundreds of retweets and shares. It is not immediately known who first took a screenshot of the photo and shared it on social media.

The photo was taken on Snapchat user Sarah Harper’s account, who is a freshman in mass communications at K-State. Harper is also part of K-State’s Family of the Year, which is organized by Chimes Junior Honorary Society.

Craig Robinson, family member and lawyer acting as the family’s spokesman, told the K-State Collegian that Harper was “goofing around” and her actions are not representative of the family.

“It is unfortunate, and it was never the intent of the participants in the photo,” Robinson said. The two individuals in the photo are related to the Robinson family, but not K-State students, according to Robinson.

Harper allegedly messaged another freshman who had reached out to her regarding the photo with the following text: “It was a mistake. I didn’t think about who might see this and take offense, I was being stupid.” The message was verified by the Collegian.

Robinson told the Collegian that Harper is distraught and wanted to quit school. Harper has since deleted her Facebook account.

K-State issued a statement to the Collegian regarding the incident.

“Individuals posting through their private social media accounts do not represent or speak on behalf of the university,” the statement said. “Our Principles of Community clearly articulate our shared values. Kansas State University is gathering facts about a post on social media that has generated significant comment and concern about racism. Once the facts have been gathered, the university will respond as appropriate.”

This photo is part of a string of racist acts occurring at K-State. In September, white supremacist fliers were found on campus, and in May, a noose was found hanging from a campus tree. In September 2016, another K-Stater’s Snapchat photo that portrayed two people with a “black face” went viral.

Kaitlyn Alanis: 316-269-6708, @kaitlynalanis

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