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Costume protest leads to postponement of F&M College basketball game

  • The Associated Press
Franklin & Marshall College is seen in this January 2014 photo.

 Pâmella Ferrari / Flickr

Franklin & Marshall College is seen in this January 2014 photo.

(Lancaster) — A college basketball game was postponed after a pre-game protest on the court by students objecting to Halloween costumes allegedly worn by several school athletes.

Scores of students sat on the Franklin & Marshall College basketball court for 10 minutes Friday night until an announcement was made that the game against York College was being canceled.

The students said they were offended by photos circulated on social media showing five students said to be members of the men’s basketball and soccer teams wearing costumes the protesters charged embodied Asian, Hispanic and African stereotypes.

Junior Justin Kupa, a member of the basketball team, apologized on the team’s behalf, calling the actions of his teammates “stupid” and “ignorant.” He said players were willing to meet with student leaders to discuss how to move forward.

“They need to see who they affected and what they caused,” he said, to which someone shouted, “Where they at now?” Kupa responded that they were advised not to come.

The men’s soccer coach, Dan Wagner, was interrupted several times as he defended his students. He asked the group to remain civil, saying his players had received death threats.

“I know these guys,” he said. “And they’re good people.”

Margaret Hazlett, the school’s vice president, said the five students are going through the student conduct process, which will determine if they will face punishment.

“There are important issues that every community is facing, every college campus. But it’s with us right now at F&M,” Hazlett said.

The college has previously announced it was conducting a campus climate survey until Nov. 15, hiring a director of diversity, equity and inclusion and creating a bias reporting system to be in effect for the spring 2020 semester.

The game was listed on York College’s website as “postponed,” indicating it is to be played later.

Longtime men’s basketball coach Glenn Robinson announced his retirement earlier in the week, saying he was retiring after 48 seasons. He said the decision wasn’t health-related but “has to do with the demands of coaching.”

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