'Black Santa' Board Causes Controversy At IU Dorm

By Emma Koch - NBC33

Credit: WTHR

'Black Santa' Board Causes Controversy At IU Dorm


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December 3, 2013 Updated Dec 3, 2013 at 11:09 AM EDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) -- A message posted on a residence hall bulletin board is causing controversy at Indiana University.

The message, posted on a bulletin board for the Community Education Program in Foster Residence Center, asks "Can Santa Claus be a black man?" The display includes questions, with notepaper attached to respond, such as "If Santa is a black man, would you let him come down your chimney?" and "If Santa Claus is a black man, wouldn't he only visit the ghetto?"

The bulletin board sparked outrage and debate on social media Monday evening. A university spokesman said the display was created as part of a diversity program in the residence halls to "raise awareness and promote discussion on issues such as race, gender and sexual identity."

"The aim of this was to start a discussion around racial stereotypes, and while the intent was good the execution was misguided," said IU Associate Vice President of Public Affairs Mark Land in a statement. "This program has a good record of fostering debate among students on important issues, but this effort missed the mark."

The university had the display taken down Monday night.

"(We) apologize if the images offended anyone - that clearly wasn't the intent," Land wrote.

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