Student newspaper apologizes for 'Trail of Schmears' fake story

The April Fool's edition of The Cavalier Daily featured a front-page story titled "ABC officers tackle Native American student outside Bodo's Bagels." Photo by Lauren M. / Twitter

A student newspaper at the University of Virginia apologized for an April Fool's edition that contained a story that made light of a recent race-related incident by drawing a comparison to the forced removal of Native Americans.

The story titled "ABC officers tackle Native American student outside Bodo's Bagels" came just a couple of weeks after an African-American student was injured during a scuffle with state alcohol agents near the UVA campus in Charlottesville. The article included quotes from students with invented "Native" surnames and called the affair the "Trail of Schmears" in reference to the Trail of Tears.

"We understand that the arrest of our classmate Martese Johnson by Alcoholic Beverage Control officers was a highly traumatic incident both for the community and for Martese himself. In the days that followed, as we at the paper sought to comprehend what happened and provide the community with constructive reporting, we have felt upset, angry and confused alongside the student body," The Cavalier Daily said in an apology. "We are embarrassed that our empathy for these immensely serious issues was undermined by this piece. We had no intentions of victimizing another underrepresented community in the process."

The paper deleted the story from its website (the URL for the "Trail of Schmears" story was labeled with a "youve-got-to-be-cherokidding-me" filename) along with another one about a fraternity party with a Rosa Parks theme. Both stories caused an uproar among students and by others on social media.

According to the university, 30 American Indian and Alaska Native students are enrolled for the 201-2015 academic year. That represents 0.18 percent of the student body.

Get the Story:
People are outraged at UVA newspaper's April Fools' issue satirizing a black student's bloody arrest (Business Insider 4/1)
'The Cavalier Daily' slammed for racist April Fools' article (USA Today 4/1)
Offensive April Fools’ Day articles prompt apology from The Cavalier Daily at UVa. (WTVR 4/1)

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