LAWRENCE, Kan. — As Jayhawk fans get ready to cheer on their team against Georgia on Tuesday, four members of the KU cheer squad will not be there, because of a photo posted online.
A University of Kansas cheerleader has been suspended from cheering after a photo was posted on her Snapchat account linking the Ku Klux Klan with President-elect Donald Trump.
The photo shows three members of the cheer squad wearing sweaters with “K” representing “Kansas” on their chests. White letters across the photo read “Kkk go trump.”
Associate athletic director Jim Marchiony says university officials were made aware of the social media posting during the men’s basketball team’s 83-63 victory over UAB.
However, on Tuesday afternoon, KU Athletics tweeted that the three male cheerleaders and the female who posted the photos have been suspended pending the investigation. Before that, KU Athletics said in an official statement that a Twitter user reported the Snapchat photo to the school. A tweet from the school described what happened as “unacceptable.”
— Kansas Jayhawks (@KUAthletics) November 22, 2016
While many people on campus believe the photo was intentional, the mother of one of the male cheerleaders said there was no racial motivation, and the boys were just taking a photo in sweaters they have had for a long time.
She also said the female’s phone was stolen, something students on campus have also heard.
“Some of the arguments you see are her friends saying that, you know, someone else edited it. She didn’t have her phone,” said one KU student. “What my thing is, if we fail to act on this properly rather if it was purposeful or not, directly or indirectly, it’s still related to a racist past, therefore someone has to suffer consequences.”
Some fellow students believed the Snapchat picture was a sign of racism; others believed the student was calling Trump racist.
The student from whose Snapchat account the picture came wrote an apology Monday night on Twitter.
“I’m appalled that a snapchat was put out on my snapchat and posted on my account. I would never of done that & I apologize that it happened,” she said.
Late Tuesday morning a search of the student’s Twitter account said ‘The user does not exist.’ It was disabled or deleted, at least temporarily.
FOX 4 reached out the university officials as well as the family of the suspended students. They either declined to comment or did not return calls.