President of Oklahoma Christian University has announced a recruiter has been fired after telling students at an Oklahoma City high school to line up by the skin color and hair texture.
At an open campus meeting, John DeSteiguer called recruiter, Cedric Sunray’s actions at Harding Charter Preparatory High School “offensive, harmful and inappropriate.”
Students at Harding Charter Preparatory said the recruiter stopped by the school Monday, Feb. 24, and during an assembly in the gym, instructed them to line up from darkest to lightest complexion and asked them to line up by their hair from “nappiest” to “straightest”
Harding student, Korey Todd, told KFOR-TV that during the Feb. 24 assembly, Sunray “barely talked about the school itself.” Todd said Sunray ranked students based on whose hair was the most “nappy.” Student Rio Brown said, “he told us to line up nappiest hair in the back and straightest hair in the front.”
DeSteiguer said the university parted with Sunray within an hour of the incident.
Sunray wrote in a lengthy statement published Monday in the Christian Chronicle that his motives behind the exercise were not racist.
“Nothing I spoke at Harding Charter Preparatory during an initial ‘ice-breaker’ session had any intention of promoting a racist agenda. My presentations are the opposite. They are intended to take a hard look at issues such as this,” he wrote.
University officials, after confirming Sunray’s dismissal, added the school leadership didn’t approve the “inappropriate activity” prior to the recruiter’s visit.
Administrators at the high school publicly denounced the recruiter’s “inappropriate and hurtful statements,” and stated it will not condone any behavior or language that undermines their community’s values.
According to reports, the incident comes on the heels of two similarly racist episodes at learning institutions in Oklahoma. About a month ago, a University of Oklahoma professor faced backlash after arguing the N-word was no more offensive than the phrase “OK Boomer.” A second professor would repeatedly use the slur in class weeks later while reading from historical text, The Oklahoman reports.
When interviewed, the junior student, Rio Brown, also recalled seeing his own teachers upset and in tears after the recruiter’s visit to his high school. He described the recruiter as “a white male who didn’t seem knowledgeable on how to speak to people.”
“I hope it is a wake-up call because many people at the school need to hear how we feel,” said Brown.