The Citadel, South Carolina's military college, has begun suspension proceedings after a photo surfaced online showing cadets wearing white clothing and white hoods, WCIV reports. A woman posted on social media late Wednesday that she was approached by a man, who was unknown to her, on a few social media sites and that he told her, "I always wanted a black girl." She ended up coming across the photos on his Snapchat feed, and wrote that she took a screenshot and shared it "because I was so offended." Numerous commenters have pointed out the resemblance to KKK members. The Citadel Minority-Alumni Facebook page re-shared the photos on Thursday and called on the administration to deal with the situation, and the president of the college released a statement on Facebook around the same time.
Though he says in the statement that the seven cadets and one upperclassman pictured were reportedly "singing Christmas carols as part of a 'Ghosts of Christmas Past' skit," he calls the photos "offensive and disturbing" and "not consistent with our core values of honor, duty, and respect." An investigation is ongoing. A source tells WCIV all of the students have been identified, and that the incident happened in one of the school's barracks. The woman who posted the pictures originally says she removed them after being "threatened, harassed, and offered money from numerous Citadel Cadets to take it offline in order to not 'ruin their lives,'" and she got scared, but she later reposted the photos. New students at the school are trained by older students, and hazing has made headlines in the past, but a spokesperson tells the AP there's no evidence this incident was hazing.