University of South Alabama professors Bob Wood, Alex Sharland, and Teresa Weldy were placed on administrative leave after the above photos turned up depicting the three at a 2014 campus costume party. One of these brilliant scholars was wearing a Confederate soldier uniform while the other two were holding a whip and a noose. Wood and Sharland have issued statements of apology. Weldy has not commented. Meanwhile, students are petitioning for the tenured professors to be fired.
"The actions taken in response to these pictures, which were brought to the attention of University leadership in 2020, should have been stronger and broader, and should have more clearly demonstrated our unwavering commitment to a safe and welcoming environment for every member of our community," university president Tony Waldrop said in a statement. "We acknowledge that, in our response to this incident, we failed in our obligations and responsibilities to our students, our employees and our community. For this, we are deeply sorry to everyone who is rightfully hurt and offended by these images."
Waldrop said Friday an investigation into the incident will be conducted by Suntrease Williams-Maynard, a former trial attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Mobile, Alabama and a former assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Alabama.
"It is my goal to conduct an independent, unbiased investigation so that the leadership for the University of South Alabama will be in the best position to make an informed decision," Williams-Maynard told CNN.