Wheaton College, in Norton, Massachusetts, is apparently not a place designed to guide young adults fully into the adult world, to empower them to overcome challenges, or to train them to deal with differences between people. Shaun Towne reports on WPRI that the college canceled the entire women’s soccer team’s participation in their conference tournament because one of the players attended a Halloween party in a costume of a movie character whose appearance required her to darken her skin. That punishment is on top of consequences that the individual student may face for expressing herself in a way that the snowflakes who run the institution can’t handle, emotionally.
Towne’s article includes the full text of a letter that President Dennis Hanno sent to the campus population. Prospective students and their parents should judge for themselves whether the author of such a document, not intending it to be a parody, is likely to have the capacity to run an institution of higher education that is worth the price of admission:
The past few days have been disturbing and challenging for our community. A Wheaton student chose to wear blackface as part of an offensive and racist Halloween costume, and the incident raises difficult issues for all of us. …
This is a difficult moment for the college and our community and I am convinced that we can use this incident as a rallying point to build a better, more welcoming and inclusive place for all students, faculty and staff. I hope you will join me in this important work.
No kidding this controversy is disturbing. That a student and her teammates have been treated in this way over a costume shows how detrimental time spent at Wheaton can be. When Hanno writes that the “college community aspires to be a place that welcomes a diverse group of students from every background and perspective,” he’s obviously lying. Anybody who might think that young adults should be able to dress up as movie characters even when they’re of different races and that such activity actually speaks to a shared culture will obviously not be tolerated on campus.
(I wonder, by the way, if there isn’t an implicit sexism in the punishment. Would the football team be treated so harshly, or are female sports seen as less-important affairs at Wheaton?)