Kansas State student apologizes but denies wearing blackface

Story highlights

  • Kansas State student no longer at the university after viral photo
  • Student apologizes on her Facebook page

(CNN)A Kansas State University student who posted a picture of herself and her friend on Snapchat in dark mud masks with a racial slur in the caption denies that they were depicting blackface.

"We want people to know it's not blackface," Paige Shoemaker told CNN affiliate KSNT.
    "We did not paint our faces intentional (sic). We did not do this in hopes of taking this picture and posting it all over."

    'We know what we did was wrong'

    Shoemaker had sent the picture of the pair wearing a dark clay facial mask with a caption reading: "It feels good to finally be a n----." The picture was screengrabbed and spread online, triggering outrage at her college campus and beyond.
    Shoemaker apologized on her Facebook page Thursday.
    "We clearly understand that what was said and done was completely disrespectful," she wrote.
    "We will battle everyone for the right to make things right, because we know what we did was wrong."
    Kansas State University announced that Shoemaker was no longer enrolled at the school. She had been studying biochemistry, pre-med at the school, according to Shoemaker's Facebook page.
    The second woman in the photo "is not associated with the university."
    "This racially offensive photo with a derogatory message has upset the K-State family and is not in concert with our principles of community. Such messages on social media are harmful to all," the school said in a statement.

    'They don't understand how we feel'

    The Kansas State Black Student Union said that it wanted assurances that Shoemaker "is no longer welcomed back at any future date."
    The group also said the university as a whole "must take more practical and pragmatic approaches to addressing diversity and inclusion."
    On Thursday night, KSU's black student union held an open forum on race relations spurred by the snap.
    One student said it seems like the black population on campus is misunderstood.
    "I feel like the majority of white people on this campus don't understand where we're coming from," the student said."They don't understand how we feel."
    Students at the meeting also discussed whether the university had responded well to the controversy. According to the K-State Collegian, many in attendance said the emails and letters sent by school officials were not "satisfactory."

    'It got taken way out of proportion'

    Shoemaker told KSNT on Thursday she used the racial slur in the snap, because her friends would not have been offended by the use of the word.
    "I mean, not that this is a good thing. That word just happens in our friend group because we know everyone is like calm. We're a big family. That word doesn't offend anyone in our group. And when I sent it out to my friends, I knew that it wouldn't offend anyone."
    "It just kinda - we did it for our friends as more of a joke. We understand it's not a joking matter and it got taken way out of proportion."
    Shoemaker and her companion did not respond to CNN's request for comment.