Plattsburgh State was certain of another racial incident occurring on campus when two photos showing two SUNY Geneseo students wearing black face masks with the captions “blackface and sunsets with bae” and “JK they’re face masks” began circulating in the campus-wide GroupMe “Word on the Street” chat.
PSUC Bias Response Team Co-chair Patrick Roscoe was notified about the circulating images at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday April 2. Roscoe determined the picture originated in SUNY Geneseo. Vice President for Student Affairs Bryan Hartman contacted the vice president of SUNY Geneseo to confirm the two students attended the college.
By the time Roscoe and Hartman determined the source of the pictures, PSUC students had shared the picture and assumed the students were from PSUC.
Bryan Hartman said Student Association President Essence Hightower was in the group chat and kept everyone in the calm when the story was still developing.
“We were learning that the students, not knowing this came from Geneseo, were regulating within the chat about what action they should take,” Roscoe said. “While this was happening, we were still trying to learn how this picture got to our campus.”
Student Association senator Emmanuel Akuamoah instantly assumed the two students were from PSUC when he saw the picture.
“The fact that [PSUC students] assumed it was Plattsburgh is not surprising,” Akuamoah said. “The school tries to promote a diverse environment, but a lot of the students don’t understand that diverse message. That inclusive message. The fact that we assumed [the students were from PSUC] shows we have to become better and fight for our minority group.”
Roscoe said the Bias Response team and himself are planning a discussion with students to properly inform students of the picture’s source.