U of L Students protest, president apologizes for photograph som - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L Students protest, president apologizes for photograph some call 'racist'

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Photo courtesy: Louisville Courier-Journal. Photo courtesy: Louisville Courier-Journal.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An uproar at the University of Louisville over a photograph of president James Ramsey in a costume some are calling racist.

Ramsey is with the football team in North Carolina, so he hasn't been on campus. But he left behind a firestorm caused by a single photograph.

Hundreds of students gathered outside the office of President James Ramsey, demanding more diversity among U of L's leadership, and some calling for Ramsey to quit.

It’s a photograph that has them angry. It first appeared in the Courier Journal showing Ramsey and his staff dressed for Halloween in a stereotype of Mexican clothing and mustaches, a costume some found offensive.

Junior Justin Ortiz joined the protest.

“It's just completely wrong to even do something like that and think it's OK and acceptable in today's society,” he said.

Olivia Krauth, the editor-in-chief of student newspaper, The Cardinal, was among the first to express outrage.

In an editorial posted on the paper's website on Thursday, she called the photo racist.

“He took someone's culture, and was like, let's make this a joke,” she said.

Ramsey is out of town for the football game at Wake Forest.

His chief of staff initially issued an apology, but just before the protest, the university released a statement from Ramsey himself.

In read in part, "I want to personally apologize for the recent incident and any pain it may have caused.”

It's difficult for students to miss the controversy. Someone plastered the picture all over campus above the university's diversity statement.

WDRB found a mixed reaction among students.

“I don't think it's offensive. I would say he's more just having fun,” said one student.

“It's disappointing, but I hope they learn their lesson,” said another.

Ramsey pledges to ensure that the school moves forward as "one university."

But the protesters appear not quite ready to forgive and forget.

“It was just a bad apology. You can’t send an email and expect everything to be forgotten,” said Ortiz.

There is now an online petition calling for Ramsey to resign.

Students say the controversy is made even worse because U of L already has a black eye from the basketball scandal.

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