By Joe Douglass at KATU News
SOUTHWEST PORTLAND, Ore. — Two Lewis & Clark College football players are in big trouble for exchanging racial slurs at a party on campus. The students – one black, one white – say they were just kidding around, but the school isn’t laughing.
The students were playing beer pong last November at Holmes Hall, which houses mostly sophomores, juniors and seniors.
A report says the African-American student named his beer pong team, “Team N—,” and he and his partner, the white student, would shout that after they scored. They’d also exchanged the phrase “white power”.
All of this, they told administrators, was a big running joke, but the school came down on them hard, and now it’s a big topic of discussion on campus.
“They should’ve faced some sort of disciplinary action,” said Jeremy, a freshman, “But I don’t think like anything nearly as harsh as what’s going on.”
“Those kind of words aren’t OK to just be yelling,” said Grainger Weston, another student.
A student in a nearby apartment heard the exchanges at the party and reported them. The school placed the football players on probation, meaning they could be suspended or kicked out if they break any more rules.
“There isn’t any right for students not to be offended,” said Peter Bonilla, who’s with the group, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
He fired off a letter this month slamming the school, demanding the punishment be rescinded.
“Both their free speech and their due process rights had been put at risk by this investigation and (by) the disciplinary process they faced,” Bonilla said.
Bonilla believes administrators were pressured to act. Before the incident, he says the school had been criticized for not doing enough about racist graffiti found around campus.
The school is not commenting.