The Citadel military college in South Carolina has completed an initial investigation into the students who wore pillowcases resembling Ku Klux Klan hoods in photos posted to social media last week. The school announced Wednesday that it has suspended eight cadets involved in the incident.
The school explained that the eight students are temporarily suspended and will be allowed to take final exams, but they won't resume normal classes with the rest of the cadets until Jan. 13.
All eight cadets involved in the incident provided statements to the school during the course of the initial investigation. Once they return to classes in January, a formal administrative hearing will take place where the cadets will answer questions from department officials.
Recommendations for any disciplinary action will be made to the college president, Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, at the conclusion of those hearings, most likely in late January or early February.
Rosa called on the chairman of the Citadel Minority Alumni Association, Dr. Lamont Melvin, a graduate from the school who sharply condemned the images, to assist in the administrative portion of the proceedings.
The photos in question show a group of cadets wearing pillowcases over their heads. The pillowcases resemble pointed white hoods with eyeholes cut out of them. Last week, after the photos were brought to Rosa's attention, he announced on his Facebook page that "suspension proceedings" had begun for the students involved in the incident. Rosa said that the cadets in the images were reportedly singing Christmas carols as part of a "Ghosts of Christmas Past" skit.
The CMAA posted a photo of multiple cadets wearing pillowcases, white shirts, pants and socks to its Facebook page and called the act "disgraceful." The CMAA also said it was "pleased" that Rosa was taking the incident so seriously.
“I invited Dr. Melvin to be a part of this process to provide transparency, but, more importantly, to work together to build a learning environment where all cadets, no matter their background, can thrive at The Citadel,” Rosa said in a statement describing the progress of the investigation.
“We pride ourselves on our core values," he went on. "The images we saw last week are not consistent with these values."
James Johnson, a member of Al Sharpton's National Action Network, told The Huffington Post in an email that the group will meet with Rosa Wednesday and will hold a conference outside the front entrance of the school later in the day.
Sharpton's group has called on Rosa to resign, something Rosa said he does not plan to do.