Sharpton, NAN no longer seeking Citadel president's resignation after meeting

VIDEO: Al Sharpton, NAN to meet with Citadel president over photos of cadets in white hoods

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The National Action Network and the Rev. Al Sharpton say they are no longer asking for the resignation of the president of The Citadel.

Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton and local leaders of the National Action Network met with retired Air Force Lt. Gen. John Rosa Wednesday in the wake of the incident in which controversial photos surfaced on social media showing cadets with pillowcases over their heads, which some argue looks similar to Ku Klux Klan garb.

"We're in a year the worst racial crime of our time happened here," Sharpton said, referring to the Charleston church shooting, in a news conference after the meeting. Sharpton said the photos, which he characterized as "a display of race hated," adds to the concerns.

"After having this meeting, we feel very comfortable in saying that the National Action Network and Lt. Gen. John Rose will come together to overcome and erase the racial stigma that has shadowed our city," the organization said in a release late Wednesday. "We will come together to ensure that the dignity and respect of each citizen on the campus is upheld regardless or race, creed or gender."

Elder James Johnson, state president of the organization, called it a "fruitful meeting."

Eight cadets involved have been suspended. The military college says an investigation indicated the cadets were taking part in a "Ghosts of Christmas Past" skit.

According to a Facebook post, Sharpton also plans to speak about the Confederate flag hanging in The Citadel's Summerall Chapel.

The officials will meet in President Rosa's office at 4:30 p.m.

Leaders with NAN called for Rosa to step down after the incident went viral. Rosa issued a statement last week saying he plans to honor the terms of his contract to serve as president of the military college until 2018.

Charleston State Representative Wendell Gilliard says he stands with the Citadel President and how he swiftly handled the situation.

In a meeting last Friday, Rep. Gilliard said he has never questioned Rosa's character or integrity and knows he will investigate the incident thoroughly.

He says Rosa has his full support and commitment moving forward.

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