A college president said a recruiter has been fired after telling students at an Oklahoma City high school to line up by the skin color and hair texture, CBS affiliate KWTV reports. At an open campus meeting, Oklahoma Christian University President John DeSteiguer called recruiter Cedric Sunray's actions at Harding Charter Preparatory High School "offensive, harmful and inappropriate."
Harding student Korey Todd told KFOR-TV that during the Feb. 24 assembly Sunray "barely talked about the school itself." Todd says 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 says the university had parted with Sunray within an hour of the incident.
Sunray, who is white, 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.
The charter school's superintendent, Steven Stefanick, told KWTV that the incident happened in front of their entire junior class.
"What led from the session was an exercise involving inappropriate and hurtful statements which will never be tolerated in our school community," Stefanick said in a statement
The student-run newspaper, Talon.News, reported that Sunray was already at the center of an internal investigation for a similar activity during an on-campus event. The university apparently found out about a third incident at another high school over the weekend.
"I'm embarrassed, and I'm ashamed and I'm mad at what happened and I'm very, very sorry," said deSteiguer.