College recruiter fired after making students line up by skin colour and hair texture

12 March 2020, 10:59 | Updated: 12 March 2020, 11:21

college recruiter lined up high school students by skin colour and hair type
college recruiter lined up high school students by skin colour and hair type. Picture: Getty

A Oklahoma college recruiter has been fired after making a group of high school students line up by their skin colour and hair texture.

A college recruiter from Oklahoma Christian University has been fired after telling a group of high school students to line up organised by their skin colour and hair texture.

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The recruiter, Cedric Sunray, visited Harding Charter Preparatory High School in Oklahoma City on Feb. 24, and met with 110 juniors and four teachers in the gymnasium to talk about opportunities at the college.

However, things took a turn when “the recruiter asked the students to line up from darkest to lightest skin complexion, and then line up from nappiest to straightest hair,” principal Mr. Stefanick said in a telephone interview.

As the students did as they were told, some of the teachers got up and left to report the request to school administrators, who intervened, said principal Stefanick.

"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 claim that the recruiter said it was a game to see which students could line up the fastest according to the guidelines he presented.

Another student, Korey Todd said "Teachers left," she detailed."They were crying and they were offended."

“There was no purpose to it,” Stefanick said. “We don’t condone that kind of behavior in our school.”

Mr. Stefanick said that once he complained, the university informed him that the recruiter was no longer employed at the university.

John deSteiguer, who is the president of the university, visited the high school on Monday to apologise to the students and staff members.

The university emailed the school with an official statement saying “Admissions leadership found out about the Harding incident immediately after the visit on Monday, Feb. 24” it said.
“Within one hour, Cedric was no longer employed at the university.”

Mr. Sunray wrote about the incident at the school in The Christian Chronicle and spoke to a local television station, claiming he tried to make a point about entitlement.

Sunray claimed had no intention of “promoting a racist agenda” and that he should have explained the purpose of the remarks better. Sunray claimed the exercise was meant to be an “icebreaker” for the high school students.

Students claim they felt uncomfortable with the incident which was presented as a "game"
Students claim they felt uncomfortable with the incident which was presented as a "game". Picture: Getty

Sunray explained “I break the teams into four teams and then I say, ‘Line up darkest to the front, lightest to the back,” Mr. Sunray, 45, told KFOR.

“From the largest Afro to the tightest braid to the blondest hair, blue-eyed student. They all want to know that they are valued and they are warranted. And that is the kind of programs I provide.”

The incident has caused backlash on social media, with Sunray being called "racist" and "disrespectful".

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