A billboard asking "Can Santa Claus be a black man?" was removed after sparking controversy at the Indiana University Bloomington campus, WTHR reports.
The billboard was placed near the entrance of the Foster Quad residence hall, according to IPM:
IU Spokesperson Mark Land says staff and students from IU’s CommUNITY Education Program hoped the board would provoke discussion about racial stereotyping. He says while good intentions fostered the project’s creation, its execution missed the mark.
“If you didn’t know any of the context—you just saw the bulletin board—it looked like someone had created a poster that had very negative stereotypes about African Americans,” he says.
After students began discussing the board on social media, IU took them down and offered some explanatory tweets on Tuesday:
Regarding a controversial bulletin board at Foster Quad: There was a misguided effort to generate discussion about racial stereotypes. (1/3)
The sign is being removed. The intention was to educate, not offend, but we recognize the problem and apologize to everyone effected. (2/3)
This incident has generated a lot of discussion on important issues. Thank you to everyone who shared their concerns with us. (3/3)
The university also plans to host a discussion about race issues in light of the controversial billboard.
Students: @FosterQuad will host a discussion about diversity and the bulletin board controversy tonight at 10pm in the Foster Formal Lounge.
— Indiana University (@IUBloomington) December 4, 2013