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FSU drops deal with builder after blackface photos surface

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State University 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.”

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.