WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Students say a college recruiter had them lined up by skin color and then by hair texture.
- Student- and teacher-attendees at Harding Charter Preparatory take offense over the activity.
- Oklahoma Christian University terminates the employment of said admissions counselor an hour after the school visit.
A college recruiter representing Oklahoma Christian University was fired after he told the 11th-grade class at Harding Charter Preparatory High School on February 24 to line up according to the skin color and then by hair texture.
The students say that the recruiter did not really talk about the university he was recruiting for before he had them move around for the activity he had in mind.
This particular activity was reportedly uncomfortable for both student- and teacher-attendees Especially since Harding Charter Preparatory fosters diversity. The school housed about 430 students in 2018-2019, 68% of whom were minorities.
CNN conducted interviews with students from the high school, but the names of the minors remain unpublished without written consent.
“He was like, ‘Let’s play a little game,'” said one student to CNN affiliate KFOR, adding, “He said, ‘OK, everyone now line up from darkest to lightest skin complexion.'”
The student said, “It seemed like he wasn’t really knowledgeable about how to speak with people, even in a diverse school.”
It was a few minutes in the activity that the recruiter had students shuffle around.
“He told us to line up, nappiest hair in the back and straighter hair in the front,” another student told KFOR.
“That’s when I felt uncomfortable. I was like, ‘OK, I don’t think this is right,'” the first student said.
But it was not only the students who were distraught.
The students saw teachers attending left the assembly in tears. “They were crying and they were offended. Their faces just looked disgusted. I know they had a talk with him after, like, ‘That’s not OK,'” the student told the station.
The Faculty immediately reported what was happening to school administrators, who contacted the university, says Steven Stefanick, principal.
The statement issued by Harding Charter Preparatory reads, “We are proud of our students and staff members for taking a stand on this issue and showcasing our community values of diversity, inclusion, and a safe and supportive learning environment.”
Oklahoma Christian University issues an apology to Harding Charter Preparatory High School and moved to terminate the employment of said admissions counselor an hour after the school visit.
University President John deSteiguer also instigated a mandatory sensitivity training for all employees and gives assurance that the university will take other steps to make sure nothing like this will happen again, saying says, “We fell short here. We will learn and we will redouble our efforts to do better.”
The university president visited the high school on Monday to apologize to students, staff, and administrators.
“As a Christian institution, and as a community made up of individual Christians, we must adhere to the highest of standards. And I pledge that we will,” he said.