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FSU drops deal with builder after blackface photos surface

Sam Childers, co-owner of Childers Construction Co., was photographed wearing blackface at a 2015 party.

Florida State University (FSU) has canceled a continuing service agreement with one of the school’s biggest construction contractors after photos surfaced of one of the company’s co-owners in blackface.

FSU president John Trasher canceled the agreement with Childers Construction Co. after photos surfaced of Sam Childers wearing blackface during a 2015 engagement party that fell on Halloween. Childers, who is white, is the company’s co-owner and vice president.

“Florida State University has high standards and expectations on matters related to civility and respect,” Thrasher wrote to Childers in a June letter obtained by The Tallahassee Democrat through a public records request. “As president, I expect respectful conduct from both our campus family and from partners who do business with the university.”

Childers apologized to Thrasher and the school’s board in a June letter. He denied any racist intent and said he had dressed up as Bob Marley since he was a musical hero.

“In no way did I intend to defame anyone of color,” Childers said. “From the bottom of my heart, I can attest that this was not the product of ill intentions or prejudicial feelings.”

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The company was the construction manager for the new Champions Club and elevator towers at Doak Campbell Stadium and completed renovations, painting and enhancements to the stadium, a project worth $97 million, the newspaper reported.

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Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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