Student apologizes for Blackhawks sweatshirt in class 

Student wears Blackhawks sweatshirt to class with Native American instructor.

Maddy Simpson | The Clarion

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.

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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 mas52994@bethel.edu.