Thursday, December 04, 2003

Those Wacky College Republicans

What will they think of next?

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- A black student organization at Penn State called on the chairman of the university's College Republicans to resign over photos on his personal Web site of a white man in blackface and another photo with a Ku Klux Klan reference.

Black Caucus president Tiffanie Lewis on Thursday said the pictures were inappropriate for the leader of a student organization and urged the resignation of Brian Battaglia, chair of the College Republicans.

"It's not an isolated incident. We believe that it's part of the contentious racial climate at Penn State," Lewis said.

The pictures on Battaglia's Web site were among dozens of pictures from a Halloween party Battaglia hosted at his off-campus home.

One shows a white man in blackface, with the caption: "Apparently Takkeem was released long enough to come to our party. We thank the local police department." The caption was a reference to Undergraduate Student Government vice president Takkeem Morgan, who paid a fine last month after pleading guilty to criminal mischief regarding a stolen bicycle.

A second photo shows a white man wearing a pillow case as a hood with the caption: "He took a break from cross burning to drink a cold one."

Battaglia removed the photos from his Web site Thursday, but said it wasn't because of the Black Caucus' request. He added that he might post them again.

In a written statement, Battaglia decried the reaction as that of the "radical left."

"Their viewpoints, which posit that any action or speech that gives discomfort to a vocal minority should be cause for censorship, persecution, or demands for public apologies, are the greatest threat to liberty in our time."