Indiana Daily Student

Controversial Foster display removed

A bulletin board display in the lobby of Foster Harper caused controversy among students returning from Thanksgiving Break on Monday, December 2nd. The display was taken down late that evening.
A bulletin board display in the lobby of Foster Harper caused controversy among students returning from Thanksgiving Break on Monday, December 2nd. The display was taken down late that evening.

A controversial bulletin board display was removed from Foster Quad Monday after it was brought to the University’s attention via social media.

The display was titled “Can Santa Claus be a black man?” and depicted a man dressed as the character and playing a saxophone.

Questions posted on the board included “If Santa Claus is a black man, wouldn’t all the presents be stolen?” and “If Santa Claus is a black man, wouldn’t he only visit the ghetto?” A blank paper was stapled beneath for students to write responses.

The display was removed from a bulletin board in Foster Harper at about 10 p.m. Monday, said Mark Land, IU’s associate vice president of public affairs and government relations.

IU found out about the bulletin board through Twitter, Land said. Several students tweeted comments and an Instagram photo of the display at the official University twitter account, @IUBloomington.

Land said the board was created by members of the Community Education Program, a diversity education program serving IU residence halls.

“The board was created to provoke a discussion about racial stereotyping,” Land said. “The idea was good — the intent to create a forum for discussion — but the execution was off the mark.”

A Residential Programs and Services representative at Foster Quad declined to comment.

“The nature of the messages was such that we knew we didn’t want that up there, even in the context that they were trying to use it,” Land said. “Everyone agreed that while the idea was good, that was not the right way to do it.”

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