CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – The latest news related to Citadel cadets who appeared in photos on social media wearing pillowcases on their heads. All times local:
Democratic presidential candidates are calling for the removal of the Confederate flag in a chapel at The Citadel in response to online photos of cadets who posed with pillowcases on their heads reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan.
Hillary Clinton sent a tweet Friday saying: “Symbols of hate create more hate. It’s time for the Confederate flag to come down at The Citadel.”
Christ Covert, the South Carolina director for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign and Tyler Jones, who directs former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s campaign, also called for removal of the flag.
The school’s Board of Visitors has agreed to remove the Confederate Naval Jack from Summerall Chapel but that move requires approval from the South Carolina General Assembly under the state’s Heritage Act.
Meanwhile, officials at the South Carolina military college say eight students were suspended over the photographs.
Two South Carolina lawmakers are calling for the expulsion of Citadel cadets who appeared wearing pillowcases over their heads in images that conjure the Ku Klux Klan. The South Carolina military college announced that seven cadets who appeared wearing the pillowcases as well as one upperclassman have been suspended and it’s not clear whether they will return to school.
State Rep. Wendell Gilliard said in a written statement that such an act, just across town from the Emanuel AME church where nine people were shot and killed last summer, adds “insult to injury.” Dylann Roof, a white man who posed with a Confederate flag for online photos has been charged with killing the nine black parishoners.
State Sen. Marlon Kimpson is also calling for the expulsion of the cadets.
Local civil rights activists in Charleston are calling for the resignation of Citadel President John Rosa after photographs surfaced online showing some Citadel cadets wearing pillowcases on their heads in garb that evokes images of the Ku Klux Klan.
The military college announced Friday that eight students had been suspended — seven cadets seen wearing the pillowcases and an upperclassman who was not dressed up.
Members of the National Action Network held a news conference across the street from the gates of the South Carolina military school on Friday. James Johnson, the president of the state National Action Network said that Rosa should be held accountable after the pictures appeared.
The Citadel has suspended seven cadets who appeared in photos with pillowcases over their heads similar to Ku Klux Klan robes. An upperclassman who was photographed but not dressed up was also suspended.
College spokeswoman Kim Keelor said Friday the students have gone home and are not permitted on campus. She said there’s been no decision whether they might be allowed to return.
Photos appeared on social media this week showing seven freshmen cadets, called knobs because of their short haircuts, wearing white T-shirts and white pants with the pillowcases on their heads.
John Rosa, president of the military college in Charleston, in a statement called the images “offensive and disturbing.” He said initial reports indicated the cadets were singing carols as part of a “Ghosts of Christmas Past skit.”