A college recruiter has been fired after asking high school students to line up according to hair texture and skin color during a visit to their school.
Eleventh grade students at Harding Charter Preparatory High School in Oklahoma City told the local NBC affiliate that a recruiter from Oklahoma Christian University visited their school on Monday. During an assembly, the recruiter made them line up from lightest to darkest according to their skin color. He then made them line up according to their hair texture.
"He barely talked about the school itself," student, Rio Brown, said. "He told us to line up nappiest hair in the back and straightest hair in the front."
The students say that the recruiter presented the incident as a game. He reportedly wanted to see which students could line up the fastest according to the guidelines he presented. Brown said that their teachers left the assembly in disgust once the recruiter started making them play the game.
"Teachers left," Brown detailed. "They were crying and they were offended. Their faces just look disgusted. I know they had a talk with him after, like, 'That's not okay.'"
The university has since released a statement regarding the incident, claiming that it does not condone the recruiter's behavior.
"OC admissions leadership did not approve the inappropriate activity in advance and has communicated closely with Harding administration since the visit," the statement reads. The school went on to reveal that this admissions counselor is no longer a part of the staff. Another representative for the institution will visit Harding Charter Prep and personally apologize to the students.
The principals of Harding Charter also confirmed the incident took place in their own statement: "As you are aware, our school is visited by many college representatives each year to recruit the most hardworking students in the state of Oklahoma. Unfortunately, an incident occurred this Monday when a college recruiter from Oklahoma Christian University led a group activity with our students that involved inappropriate and hurtful statements. The Harding Charter Preparatory High School governance board, administration, and staff does not condone any behavior and/or language that undermines our community’s values. Our community, from its inception, has valued diversity, inclusion, and a safe and supportive learning environment. We will continue to do so."
The name of the recruiter has not been released, but student Korey Todd described him as a white male. According to USA Today, Harding Charter Prep's demographic break down last year was 28 percent African American, 28 percent Hispanic, 23 percent Caucasian, 7 percent Asian, and 14 percent other. Rio Brown hopes this incident will serve as an awakening to people blind to the reality these students face.
"I hope it is a wake-up call because many people at the school need to hear how we feel," Brown said.