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The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

Student apologizes for Blackhawks sweatshirt in class 

Student wears Blackhawks sweatshirt to class with Native American instructor.

By Maddy Simpson

On April 25, student Cody Albrecht issued a public apology for wearing a Blackhawks sweatshirt a week prior in class Social Perspectives, Human Worth and Social Action led by Native American instructor, James Jacobs, and adjunct professor Tricia Fenrick.

Albrecht declined a request for an interview with the Clarion, noting fear of damage to the reconciliation between he and Jacobs.

The class viewed movie Dakota 38, telling the story of the largest one-day execution in American history, when 38 individuals from the Dakota tribe were hanged.

After a break, Illinois-native Albrecht returned to class wearing a Blackhawks sweatshirt. The Blackhawks are the National Hockey League team from Chicago. Like the Redskins, the name and mascot of the Blackhawks has received criticism for being offensive to Native American groups.

According to students in the class who preferred not to be named, Albrecht offered to turn his sweatshirt inside out after becoming aware of the unease in the classroom due to his sweatshirt.

Jacobs posted on his personal Facebook twice about the incident, and has since deleted his initial post. The second post notes that, since his first post, the student had issued a public apology and the situation became an “incredible learning opportunity.” The Clarion could not obtain the text from the initial deleted post.

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 10.35.06
The second Facebook post by adjunct instructor James Jacobs (Jim Bear Jacobs) about the Blackhawks sweatshirt in-class incident. The post was published April 27, two days after Albrecht’s in class apology.

Jacobs declined a request for an interview, noting that “all parties involved agreed it wouldn’t be beneficial to the reconciliation process at this point.” Fenrick also declined a request for an interview.

In his apology, Albrecht spoke of an email he received from the social work department, and also spoke of private reconciliation between him and Jacobs. Jacobs then allegedly spoke of why the mascot was offensive.

Social work department chair Eydie Shypulski declined a request for an interview, noting to the privacy of those involved and the ongoing reconciliation. Two other students in the class declined to comment as well.

Editor’s Note: Editor Abby Petersen stepped down from editorial decisions regarding this story because of her personal relationships with people involved which compromised her impartiality. The Clarion deferred editorial decisions to 2016-2017 editor Maddy Simpson who can be reached at [email protected].

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  • B

    Ben EldridgeSep 24, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    This is no accident. From the president on down the school has been trying to remake itself into a hipster liberal institution that doesn’t look much different from your average state school, including the pushing of liberal propaganda. I expect a college to present a range of perspectives but at Bethel they only give you a liberal one, cherry pick some bible verses to justify their narrow position, and then push it on a gullible student body for 45 grand a year. Maybe we as parents should complain about getting reparations for the money we spend sending our kids here. Contact these professors directly and challenge them. Contact the president’s office. Tell them about the very real problems on reservations that deserve far more attention than a hockey shirt. Don’t send your kids here thinking they will get a “christian” education. They will get a largely secular and propagandized education. That’s life in the Bethel bubble.

  • J

    jamespaulobrienJun 4, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    This is pretty pretty and ridiculous. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the sweatshirt that he wore and the only ones who should be apologizing are those that made him feel bad about wearing it.

  • P

    Philip D. OlsonMay 16, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Add this to the list of tje many reasons why I won’t ever be contributing any financial support to my alma mater ever again. It is clear that the social justice-reconciliation quackery has reached mind numbing levels of insanity at this institution of “lower learning”. I’m a 100% Swedish 4th generation American. Does the Vikings logo offend me? No, not all! In fact I’m honored that a Minnesota Sports franchise decided to name their football team after my ancestors. In the same way, if I was Native American, specifically of Blackhawk Ancestry, I would be honored that the city of Chicago decided to name a sports franchise after my ancestors. Hockey and football are violent sports and these logos were purposely chosen to depict a warrior ethos of ferocity. Nothing more, nothing less. These liberal pansies somehow need to conjure their dignity and find the strength to rise above the “systemic oppression” that ended 150 years ago. Furthermore, it’s richly Ironic that the blackhawk tribe literally helped the Chicago Blackhawks design their logo of a Blackhawk Chief for them. Apparently they were quite on board with the idea! I’m sickened to see what a pathetic bastion of “safe space” my alma mater has become. Luckily, I happen to be one of the rare Bethel alumni who majored in one of the few economically beneifical degree fields the school offers (business finance) and then went on get an MBA. At least I escaped Bethel with some skills that could be employed in the labor market and didn’t waste 4 years of my life majoring in philosophy or womens studies… I honestly feel so sorry for the lemmings at this school pissing away 6 figure sums of money for their useless liberal arts degrees in social work and other worthless types of white-guilt oriented mind-fuckery degrees. I can’t believe Bethel has allowed itself to peddle and then champion this type of low-level, emotional-perspective based, intellectualism . Maybe Bethel should walk the walk and lead some mission trips to some Indian Reservations over the summers instead of lecturing innocent students on the morality of wearing their favorite sport team’s apparel. This entire story of what transpired is emblematic of how inconsequential the studies occurring at Bethel University have become. Whatever pathetic “reconcilation meeting” this student ending up having with his professor, I’m willing to bet it had absolutely no impact on the world whatsoever except to turn the kid into more of a hypersensitive social justice warrior. I don’t think Jesus gives a fuck about what this kid wore to class and would probably be more pleased if this class went to share the gospel on an Indian Reservation where so many Native Americans are leading hopeless lives addicted to alcohol…

  • C

    ConnorMay 13, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Everybody knows the Blackhawks logo is a depiction of one guy and isn’t meant to represent all native Americans right? Chief Blackhawk, if anything it’s a tribute. Look it up.

  • A

    AnonymousMay 12, 2017 at 6:18 pm


  • E

    everin04May 12, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    I am an alumna (2008) from bethel social work now living in Chicago. While i agree that sensitivity about injustices of Native American communities and microagressions are crucial, I sure hope this student was not made to feel bad. The blackhawks logo with the man’s head is found on everywhere in IL, even state license plates. This student likely grew up in an environment where nobody thought twice about this. Some consider the Blackhawk logo to be less offensive than others (ie: Cleveland Indians) because no other slurs or mascots are used) and because it is named after a brave warrior, an individual rather than a tribe. The team has the support of the chicago based American Indian center (but the team does give them monetary support). An article in the Atlantic called “how is the blackhawks name any less offensive than the redskins” has some interesting points to consider. I converted from being a wild fan to blackhawks fan (hey, I grew up with the north stars) and I personally try to avoid the logo with the mans head when I buy t-shirts but nobody seems to think anything of it here.

  • J

    JMay 12, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Arguments over Native American mascots aside, why is this even a story? If the student did cause unintentional offense and has reconciled with the professor, it should be left between them. There is no need to publically name the student and damage his reputation over an incident that has already been resolved.

  • S

    StudentMay 12, 2017 at 9:33 am

    It would more beneficial to write a piece on the Native American mascot controversy rather than singling out a situation that has already been reconciled.