Two University of Wisconsin-Whitewater students were accused of racism for taking photos of their blackened faces while doing facials on Feb. 16.
“I put it on the UW SnapChat. I didn't really think about it being blackface. I just thought it looked funny,” explained one of the students photographed, reports the Daily Mail.
“There was no intention. That's nothing that we would have thought about in the first place ... we had no intentions of offending anybody or anything,” the second student in the photo added.
Many students were upset by the photos because it was assumed the girls were wearing blackface paint.
At first, administrators were upset and looked into implementing disciplinary action before calling it a misunderstanding.
“Last night a disturbing racist post that was made to social media was brought to my attention,” said college chancellor Beverly Kopper on Feb. 18.
After the girls explained they were merely taking a photo of their faces during the beauty treatment, they were not punished.
The university says it will host race awareness events on campus in response to the image.
Some were upset by the backlash against the photo and the school’s response.
Republican State Sen. Steve Nass of Whitewater called it a "racial overreaction.”
“The official statement misled students, parents and the public by confirming that a racist event had occurred, even though it really hadn't,” Nass said.
Other students say they’re glad the university is at least now having a conversation about race, stating they’ve repeatedly experienced discrimination on campus, WISC reports.
"Young ladies using Snapchat to say the n-word multiple times mockingly, or you have someone who still has not been identified write the n-word on a black student's page," Black Student Union President Radaya Ellis said.
“Some of our multicultural and nontraditional students feel the environment on campus is not welcoming to all," Kopper wrote. “Over and over, the students in attendance expressed their need to be heard and for campus to do more than just talk.”