The president of the University of Central Arkansas, Tom Courtway has issued a statement of criticism, the yearbook staff has apologized and the UCA yearbook, The Scroll, will be redistributed with a couple of photo captions gone, the Log Cabin Democrat reports.
The controversy blew up on social media after the yearbooks were distributed. Unhappiness arose over photos taken at the UCA Step Show, a dance show featuring black fraternities. One photo used the term “thug” to describe the facial expressesion adopted by performers in one act. A photo of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity dancers holding a sign that said “Black Lives Matter,” had a caption that read: “Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.’s performance spoke a message to the audience that ALL LIVES MATTER.”
Typical comment on Facebook:
The UCA yearbook disrespected NPHC and the black community as a whole.
Courtway’s statement said:
Today The Scroll was released. This is the UCA student yearbook and while it is produced, and paid for, by the students of this university, like other publications it is a reflection on this institution. The public oftentimes does not know the difference. The words we use matter. In my opinion, there are two captions in The Scroll that I find offensive and inappropriate as they relate to our African-American students and friends. Offensive, inappropriate or derogatory terms against a race, group or an individual are not acceptable.
A spokesman said it had not ordered the action on the yearbooks. This was the decision of the yearbook staff.
Some 2,200 yearbooks were printed. An unknown number was distributed. Others won’t be distributed but will be replaced by new books without the objectionable material.