Black Santa billboard sparks controversy on Indiana Univ. campus

3:09 PM, Dec 5, 2013   |    comments
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(NBC NEWS) -- A billboard plastered in a University of Indiana dormitory has sparked controversy on campus.

It displays a black Santa playing a saxophone and asks the question: "Can Santa Claus be a black man?"

According to NBC affiliate WTHR, the billboard was posted with the intention of prompting students to think about difficult issues - instead, it left much distaste and disapproval.

"I was completely appalled with it," IU freshman Alexus Johnson told the local news station.

Follow-up questions were posted on cut-out paper stockings and asked: "Would he only visit the ghetto?" "Would you let him come down your chimney?" and "Wouldn't all the presents be stolen?"

The sign was posted on Monday and immediately ignited a wave of responses on social media.

"It really hit home for a lot of students and it really hurt a lot of students," IU senior Leighton Johnson said. "They're just angry about this poster being up."

The University of Indiana took to Twitter Monday to address the issue.

The sign was reportedly taken down soon after the school was bombarded with backlash on social media.

WTHR reports that a member of the school's CommUNITY Education Program, which promotes diversity, originally put up the billboard.

Team members are expected to meet to discuss the issue and what can be learned from it.

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