south Alabama professors

University of South Alabama Suspends Professors Over Racist Photos

Three professors at the University of South Alabama have been placed on leave after photos surfaced of them wearing racist costumes.

The photos that re-circulated were taken in 2014 during a campus costume party held at the Mitchell College of Business, which university spokesperson Lance Crawford verified. Two professors are seen posing with a whip and noose, while the third sported a Confederate soldier uniform. The trio has been identified as Bob Wood, Teresa Weldy, and Alex Sharland.

Despite the school placing the professors on leave as they conduct an investigation, students are calling for the firing of the three with an online petition that has garnered over 3,000 signatures. The petition blasts the University for demonstrating “a deep failure to commit to a safe, welcoming environment for students of all backgrounds.”

University President Tony Waldrop admits that the school should have taken “stronger and broader” action when the photos were first brought to their attention last year.

“We acknowledge that, in our response to this incident, we failed in our obligations and responsibilities to our students, our employees, and our community. For this, we are deeply sorry to everyone who is rightfully hurt and offended by these images.”

Suntrease Williams-Maynard, who is the former trial attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, will investigate the racially charged pictures.

Bob Wood apologized for wearing the “last-minute costume” seven years ago in a statement issued via the university.

“I served on a panel of judges to select the winners. I sincerely apologize and am sorry for doing so and ask for forgiveness for this error in judgment.”

Alex Sharland also issued an apology through the university for his poorly thought-out costume, admitting that he can now see how the photos are hurtful to those who viewed them.

Teresa Weldy has yet to comment on the photos.

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