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York students cause offense after 'blacking up' for 'Cool Runnings' Halloween costumes

University of York is considering disciplinary action

A group of students have sparked a furious racism row at the University of York after “blacking up” to dress like characters from the cult Disney movie “Cool Runnings” at a Halloween party.

The group, which is said to have included at least one former Eton student, covered their faces in black face paint and donned black morphsuits for a Halloween party in their block kitchen.

A picture of the group, posted on one student’s Facebook page but now removed, shows them dressed as the cast of Cool Runnings, a cult Disney film about a team of Jamaican athletes who entered a bobsled team into the 1988 Winter Olympics. The four went to the trouble of making a cardboard bobsled, while one of the students appears to be wearing a blackened mop-head to represent dreadlocks.

York's student union president Kallum Taylor told student newspaper York Vision, which broke the story: “I can’t see how anyone studying here at the University of York would think this ridiculous behaviour is anywhere near appropriate in any context.

“Once this is all said and done with I just hope, for their sake, that those involved take a serious lesson from this so that it doesn’t affect their futures.”

The students have also been slammed by their peers, who have labelled them “out of touch”, “knowingly offensive” and “unbelievably disgusting”.

Sairish Tahir and Isabelle Scott, the black and minority ethnic officers at York said that the students' acts were "wrong".

"Appropriation of culture is bad enough as it harks on a willing ignorance. Racial appropriation amps you up into a whole new level of stupid if changing skin colours for the night is the sum and whole of your joke."

A spokesperson for the university said that "this was a regrettable series of incidents which fell below the levels of behaviour and respect for others that we encourage in our students.

"The matter is still under investigation and we reserve the right to take disciplinary action if university regulations have been broken."