Costumes from social mixer cause racial concern

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January 27, 2015

12:18 AM

At the start of the new semester, individuals and three Greek organizations face accusations of hosting racially insensitive parties.

On the night of Jan. 23, members of the Alpha Eta Chapter of the Sigma Pi Fraternity and the Beta Lambda Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority met at the Green Leafe Cafe, dressed in attire for their “Gangsters and Golfers” off-campus mixer.

“I came to the Green Leafe around 9:30, the same time a bunch of Greek people were coming in,” Kat Contreras ’15 said in an email. “I’m not sure if the mixer was being held there or they were coming from it, but they were all definitely together … many people wearing tight tank tops (‘wifebeaters’), sagging sweat pants and basketball shorts. Some girls had handkerchiefs on their heads and faces, and there were some drawn on tattoos. I saw a couple teardrops drawn onto people’s faces. They also wore handkerchiefs on their arms, and some gold chain necklaces.”

The group’s costumes elicited negative responses on social media outlets — particularly the College’s Yik Yak feed — by individuals who perceived the outfits and/or theme as racist. Yik Yak posts made that evening include “S/o to tonight’s racist mixer!!!” and posts describing the students’ costumes as “bloods”, a reference to the Los Angeles gang of the same name that is primarily, though not exclusively, described as an African American street gang.

Photos of the party that were uploaded to Facebook were later taken down, according to Zhue Azuaje ’15, a student who viewed the photos through their location designation —  the Green Leafe.

“At first I was really shocked and thought it would only be a few people, but it was almost everybody there. …  I just felt really shocked and disappointed, because I had heard of parties like this at other colleges, but never really thought it would be something to happen here,” Azuaje said. “Even though I’m not black, I felt offended, because they are making a mockery of an entire culture and group of people, and that is just never something that’s okay.”

Contreras said she visited the Green Leafe Friday night to see her friend Haley Bauser ’16, the lead singer of Llamas at Brunch — the band hired to perform that night.

Bauser said the fraternity and sorority did not hire her band.

“We had no prior knowledge of the mixer, let alone the theme,” Bauser said in an email. “We would not have done the show if it was just for them and their offensive mixer.”

According to Bauser, the mixer was not held at the Green Leafe, but at another location.

Liz Rinck, Director of Communications at Kappa Alpha Theta nationals, declined to comment as the organization is “currently investigating this incident.”

Michael Ayalon, Executive Director of Sigma Pi Fraternity International, released a statement regarding the event.

“We apologize to all students, faculty, and other members of the community for any offense that the insensitive theme may have caused,” Ayalon said in an email. “We will begin an investigation to get more details about the social event, and we expect our members to lead discussions towards a solution. It is our hope that our chapter can use this mistake as an opportunity to better themselves and the entire community at William and Mary.”

Representatives of both Kappa Alpha Theta and Sigma Pi at the College declined to comment.

Associate Director of Student Leadership Development Jennifer Leung said that on-campus themes are approved through the Office of Student Leadership Development.

“If a questionable party theme is identified through the registration process, we can intervene with an educational conversation about the impact of the theme and suggest that it be changed,” Leung said in an email. “When events are held off campus, there is no registration process with the College, making it more difficult to address things like party themes proactively.  Ultimately, student leaders and organizations should be the monitors and stewards of their organization’s decisions related to things like party themes.”

Leung went on to say that party themes have been a topic of conversation before.

“The topic of party themes has been a topic of conversation off and on over the past several years, and the leadership of the Interfraternity Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Panhellenic Council, and the individual fraternity/sorority chapters here at the College have the opportunity to step up and be leaders in a proactive conversation about these event themes and the impact of the events they host on the broader community,” Leung said.

The mixer followed multiple reports of another party on Thursday night, which has been accused of having racially insensitive costumes.

A white student posted a photo on Instagram of herself wearing shorts, a backwards hat and a shirt that reads “Ghetto fabulous” with a large emoji of a gun beside her. The caption on Instagram reads: “reppin’ ghetto fabulous Norfolk at (cigarette emoji) (money bag emoji) (knife emoji) (gun emoji).” Another picture on Facebook shows the same student with another white student, wearing a wife beater with a drawn-on tattoo that reads “Thug life.”

According to Allie Rosenbluth ’15, who attended the Thursday night party, the pictures were taken at an off-campus party that happened Thursday, Jan. 22.

“There was a theme to the party — it was repping your hometown,” Rosenbluth said. “We thought it would be good to show the diversity of our friends … and represent where we come from. Most people were wearing shirts from their high school — some people from more rural areas were wearing camo or overalls. … People were just wearing what’s associated with where they’re from. I don’t think people were paying attention to what everyone was wearing. … We were all just excited to see each other.”

Rosenbluth said that she did not think the costumes were intended to offend others.

“I think there is an issue about how we should respect our peers on this campus, hearing about the fraternity mixer — people need to be more conscientious about what they choose to wear,” she said. “I don’t think any of these people did this maliciously.”

Following the Thursday off-campus party and the Friday mixer, a student who attended the Phi Beta chapter of Kappa Delta Rho on-campus party Saturday, but wished to remain anonymous, confirmed that the theme of the party was “War of Northern Aggression: Northern States Vs. South.”

Executive Director of Kappa Delta Rho national Joseph Rosenberg said that steps will be taken against the chapter.

“There is documentation covering what is and is not an appropriate theme. … [The] chapter will be placed on social suspension until our investigation is complete,” he said.

Representatives of Kappa Delta Rho at the College declined to comment.

Before the Kappa Delta Rho party Saturday, the College hosted “Bending the Arc: Moving Racial Justice Forward,” a one-day summit held for members of the College community to reflect on race. The event was hosted by the Center for Student Diversity, who also commented on the weekend’s events.

“The Center for Student Diversity will work with the members of our Greek community to increase awareness about how these types of party themes are hurtful and disrespectful, and contribute to distrust in our community. … We know that there are even members of Greek organizations who are offended and alienated within their own groups when this kind of stereotyping happens. … This incident has caused a lot of pain and anger, and illustrates the negative impact we can have when we use other people’s identities or experiences as a costume or a party theme, because it inevitably reduces people to stereotypes,” Associate Director at the Center of Student Diversity Margie Cook said.

Brittney Harrington ’15, who led last month’s protest in Williamsburg following the acquittal of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, said she felt the responses from the organization were standardized.

“If what a number of people are describing is true, then it wasn’t simply something people are getting offended by. That places the burden on who has been hurt by what happened and places the blame on their oversensitivities rather than placing the blame on what those responsible did,” Harrington said. “Part of the coping and healing process for people of color is when racist things happen and actually calling them racist. Part of moving forward and learning what went wrong and making efforts to make things better in the future is being honest with ourselves about what happened. We can’t get to that point if people are afraid to use the right words to describe what happened.”

Azuaje commented on the fact that multiple incidents of this nature occurred on one weekend.

“It was really upsetting that all of this is happening within hours of each other,” Azuaje said “Why is this going on? This shouldn’t even be a problem we’re dealing with here.”

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About Author

  • K.J. Moran

K.J. Moran '18 is a Psychology and History major from Boston, Mass. She was previously News Editor and Associate News Editor. Follow her on Twitter @kj_moran.

(34) Readers Comments

  1. Concerned Reader
    January 27, 2015 at 11:20 AM

    Using substanceless forums such as Yik Yak as references in a journalistic context reeks of unprofessionalism. Don't trivialize issues such as race. The editorial staff of the Flat Hat should be careful not to stoop to the level of tabloid journalism.

  2. Disgusted reader
    January 27, 2015 at 11:32 AM

    I find the flat hats unequivocal statement that black culture equals gang culture to be extremely disgusting and offensive

  3. Another Concerned Reader
    January 27, 2015 at 11:33 AM

    I encourage all readers to search the term "gangsters" under google images and take a look at the skin color and attire of the people in 95% of the pictures.

  4. Minority
    January 27, 2015 at 11:40 AM

    I commend you for attempting to write an article on such a sensitive and controversial subject such as institutional racism -- it is not an easy task. However, it is obvious that you bit off significantly more than you could chew when you wrote this article. As a minority, I feel embarrassed and ashamed that the Flat Hat is generalizing african americans as gangsters.

  5. Hypocritical Journalisn
    January 27, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    What hypocrites you are! Your newspaper waxes indignant over a tasteless fraternity party (while mistakenly equating "gangsters" to all African Americans) but right next to that article is an obscene and offensive video "Sex Talk with Marvin" on popular techniques for performing oral sex. Such a topic is inappropriate for a campus newspaper that claims to adhere to any standards of journalism. The William & Mary Community has higher standards than this, and you offend the entire community by assuming we are entertained or interested in anything "Marvin" has to say. Marvin's parents must be so proud! As are the parents of all the students he interviewed about their oral sex preferences. (wait till this comes up in job interviews in a few years) This is a topic you find in sleazy pornographic publications, not in the newspaper of one of the country's most prestigious colleges. Moreover, Marvin fuels an unfortunate stereotype of homosexuals as being effeminate, flamboyant boys who are obsessed with promiscuous sex. Absent is any discussion of self respect and the proper role of sex in a committed relationship. Shame on you! Does your paper exercise any journalistic judgment whatsoever?

    • Marvin Shelton (Response to "Hypocritical Journalisn")
      January 28, 2015 at 2:50 AM

      Dear "Hypocritical Journalisn," I want to take this moment to address your comment particularly, as you felt it was necessary to employ a red herring (if you don't know what that phrase means, then I should let you know to look it up while also looking up how to spell the word 'journalism") in order to undermine the significance of this article to the current racial climate in our community as well as to the racial climate in larger society and historically. I would like to let you know that I will not comment any further to any other offensive message that you may post about me because I simply do not care what you have to say about my personal or professional life. What I care about is that I continue to address discrimination from oppressive voices like your own, which I am doing now in this ONE comment. In addition, I would like to say that my parents are tremendously proud of me. Not only do I attend this highly prestigious school in which you rightfully defend such an oppressive racial climate, but I have also excelled in my personal life (through my development as a human being, through opening up about my sexuality to my parents and to this school, and through my continuous growth in understanding the value of my racial identity and cultural heritage) and my professional life (through grades, job opportunities [don't worry I'm ready for when my videos arise in an interview], and my research experiences). If you need to know more about my personal and professional life, then my email is attached to this message. I would be happy to address matters about my future with you in person, but I'm sure you wouldn't ([email protected]). I will say that I believe it is completely disgusting to think that you and anyone else reading this message/the article would ever condone such a blatantly racist (though I question how you all view blatant racism if you only think it extends to antebellum or Jim Crow racism) action such as throwing a party entitled "Gangsters and Golfers." It's not hard to deduce, even for someone who hasn't taken a basic Africana Studies course or even anyone who cares to understand the historical roots of what has become covert racism, that this party was distinctly established for the entertainment of those individuals who are completely aware of its socio-economic and racist undertones/stereotypes and who are readily willing to defend/toss aside such any claims to its discriminatory nature as being rooted in "reverse racism" (even though racism, of course, is a socially constructed institution designed by white individuals to purposely discrimination and stereotype individuals because of skin color), unprofessionalism, or a paranoid deduction. To the comments affirming this party as anything other than racism and discrimination of individuals because of socio-economic status, I ask you to consider the fact that you are either an individual who does not have to, like myself and other Black students, bare the weight or repercussions of this event as a measure of your value as a human or culture, or you are an individual of color who is baring this weight but passively denying it because you have internalized your racism and want to "show society how far we have progressed by making light of racism." I will ask this one question, though you William and Mary students (who condone this party) could argue this point until you are blue in the face, for you all to consider after reading this message/potentially bashing me for caring about my community, race, and humanity: did you REALLY not think about the impact of this party's title with regards to its historical roots and current implications on how stereotypes are formed and used to deny individuals access to a number of civil and human rights (hint: stereotypes are formed because a dominate, discriminating group superimposes negative and denigrating beliefs onto the actions of individuals who do not necessarily consider their culture a parody or a degraded entity…and not the other way around)? If you think long and hard about this question and still feel that you did not consider the implications, then I truly fear that apathy and lack of understanding will continue to undermine progress in our generation and allow racism, homophobia, sexism, ethnocentrism, and all matters of discrimination to persist. Lastly, in addressing "hypocritical journalisn's" comment about my sex column, I will tell you the same thing that I told another student who questioned it in the same manner this year (though I will say that she was able to be a little less overt about her blatant homophobia as you were/and she didn't call me "Marvin" [don't know why you added the quotations]): my column is a forum used to talk about matters of sex liberally and progressively that is masked by what I think most individuals and I consider to be the humor of my supposedly "stereotypical" humorous, and real, personality in order to help individuals like you, people who think of sex in a Puritanical, private, and degenerative manner, to understand that sex can be talked about openly and positively as a method of combating fear of judgement (something you clearly cannot fathom as you have not posted your name on your comment). Again, I don't have fear for my future because any job that would not hire me because they hold regressive views on sex, such as your own, is not a place that I would want to even associate myself with (by the way I think you should look into the interdisciplinary field of "sexology" because I believe there are some pioneer figures in this field who may be upset with your assumptions about my future, seeing as these individuals have prominent careers in academic [not pornographic] spheres only because of their scholarship on "nasty" topics like oral sex [Wikipedia can give you a brief introduction to the field http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexology]. My columns do not attach people, but they unmask stereotypes about ideologies. My columns include people of various racial, ethnic, sexually-oriented, gendered, and religious backgrounds in them. The title of this party distinctly discriminates against people because of their racial/cultural background (i.e. promoting stereotype around individuals who participate in rap music…and I'm sorry to say, those "gangsters," as the party title suggests, are not even close to being predominately any other racial background but Black). In short, my column is attempts to transform ideologies with little attention given to personhood. The title of this party and your comments attack a minority group of individuals, intentionally or "not," using the justification of denigrating ideologies like reverse racism and a red herring like my apparently "stereotypical" sexuality to defend your always-already weak foundation/platform of discrimination. Let me remind you, in closing, that I am flamboyant, eccentric, and feminine. I don't know when these qualities of my sexuality, or anyone else's, became negative, but to believe that these qualities are negative is simply homophobic and an upholding of the idea that being masculine-acting or male in general is the preferred/privileged/right/positive view of homosexuality. This type of thought stems directly from homophobic discrimination which historically and currently is based on the idea that "gay men can be gay as long as they simply act like us [i.e. straight men]….just be normal." It is exactly this privileging of a hetero-normative view of sexuality that is at the heart of human rights movements. There are multiple ways to be a homosexual. To pinpoint one way as denigrating and negative IS homophobia, and it IS a stereotype that is constructed to further perpetuate homophobia by telling homosexual, male individuals that "it's not us who are stereotyping you, it's those fems that are doing that for you though we stamp the negative label on the action." In making a much more relevant connection between my sexuality and the racist party title above (as you attempted to do but failed miserably at), it is exactly the message that I have just mentioned that connects the perpetuation of racism with homophobia/homophobic regimes: "We don't mean to imply any racist ideologies or to stereotype Blacks. It is Black people who stereotype themselves by either thinking that we mean them when we say "gangster" or by fulfilling the stereotype. It is Black people who are paranoid that the world is out to get them. It is Black people who perpetuate racism. It is Black people who are racist." Thus, racism persists through micro-aggression and covert regimes. Laughing at the fact that I am fulfilling a stereotype that you deem/label/construct as negative, Marvin Shelton Jr.

  6. Angry Student
    January 27, 2015 at 12:48 PM

    I am commenting as an unbiased third party and am not affiliated with any of the aforementioned organizations. Important topic matter...but the journalist is not addressing the correct topic. First of all, dressing as a "gangster" does not defacto carry over to an African American issue. Gangsters come in all shapes, sizes and colors (Irish mafia as one example). But there is an obvious implication of attire associated with such an organization. Yes, it is stereotypical. But basically any theme will elicit a representation that is somewhat stereotypical...that's kinda the point. If I told you a party theme was Joggers and Loggers, people will wear skin-tight clothing and flannel. Do all loggers wear flannel? No, by that is the stereotypical representation, and a dress theme that is easily representable by most. The same goes for Gangsters and Golfers. People dress to the theme cause it's fun to dress up and they want to fit in with their surroundings. They're usually not trying to make a social justice stance or piss off anyone. I could see why some people may find this offensive, but I honestly think they're being far too sensitive. This is less of a race issue and more of an attire issue. The only thing I could see as being offensive are the teardrop tattoos, because those come with some serious implications historically speaking. P.S. This theme has been done before at W&M and it wasn't a problem.

  7. Ugh
    January 27, 2015 at 12:48 PM

    Jesus Christ, social justice crusaders focus on all the wrong issues. 1)Find something inconsequential to be upset about (jokes at a comedy club, "racially charged" [rolls eyes] mixer themes, etc]. 2) Feign outrage and pat yourself on the back for "making a difference" 3) Manifest it in a BuzzFeed-esque article that reeks of unprofessionalism. Lather, rinse, repeat, and you've got the formula for self-righteous individualism with no self-awareness.

  8. Katie
    January 27, 2015 at 12:52 PM

    An excellent job reporting. Let's all take a minute to notice that The Flat Hat reported on how other people responded to the incidents and did not make any generalizations or editorialize at any point. They quoted others saying the themes were disappointing and included statements about ongoing investigations. They also gave the alleged offenders the opportunity to comment and defend themselves. The Flat Hat is reporting on the facts from an objective standpoint, and they've produced an important piece. (And there's nothing wrong with reporting about what's happening on social media outlets, either. It's 2015 - that's where the news comes from.)

    • In response to Katie
      January 27, 2015 at 1:53 PM

      This article is not from an objective standpoint. Yes there were quotes from one view point of reactions. However, it did not numerous people who feel these themes were not racist. Journalism ethics would have both sides represented properly in a news article. This article did not fulfill this standard and makes it feel like it is supporting one side. It is written in such a way to push a standpoint on this situation.

      • stahp.
        January 27, 2015 at 2:00 PM

        that's because the people in those organizations refused to talk when she asked them for comment.

  9. Frustrated Reader
    January 27, 2015 at 1:04 PM

    This article is a joke. The assumptions one must make to conclude that these party themes are racially insensitive are undoubtedly more racially insensitive than the themes themselves. I also agree with a previous commenter who noted that the use of Yik Yak as a source is questionable. I expected more from the Flat Hat.

  10. Anonymous
    January 27, 2015 at 1:42 PM

    As somebody who witnessed the Iraq War, I find the sentiments in this article to be misleading. How are we the racist ones when we constantly get bombed and killed by Muslim Fanatics who hate our values and freedoms? If anything, we are trying to bring them democracy and protect them but then they shoot us and kill our boys who are putting their lives on the line. This newspaper needs to focus on real issues like Obama's plans to defund universities and redirect the money towards community colleges. If you want the economy to be saturated with nail salons where you can get 5 inch long acrylic nails, why don't you do us a favor and move to some other continent? Just so you know, I sent this article to my uncle who works at Fox News. Don't be surprised if you get a call from one of the producers soon.

    • Aud
      January 29, 2015 at 12:55 PM

      For those taking Dr. Michele King's class on Public Speaking, I believe you can refer to the above comment as a perfect example of a "red herring" fallacy.

  11. Student of Color
    January 27, 2015 at 1:45 PM

    Did any of you consider that if the organizations involved - Theta, Sig Pi, KDR - had spoken candidly to KJ rather than just closing their doors in her faces, she would have more to go on? Quite frankly, the school NEEDED to respond to these events, and in the absence of that, the Flat Hat and KJ stepped up to report as much as they could in a short amount of time. She's done a great job of not generalizing or throwing in her opinions, and ya know, REPORTING, and all of you are concluding that she's racist because she's pointing out your racism? I can't believe I have to go to school with the people like you. And William and Mary administration - what's the point in priding yourself on diversity if you won't even support your diversity organizations or protect your freaking students of color and minorities? Does your reputation really matter that much?

    • Uhh
      January 27, 2015 at 11:49 PM

      "You didn't talk to the Inquisitor, so she had to make up a bunch of nonsense about how you're guilty! If you were innocent, you would have let yourselves be painted unfairly by the person who decided before writing this exactly how the story she wanted looked." Try again, chief.

  12. Disgusted, Too
    January 27, 2015 at 2:16 PM

    Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. I'm disgusted. Not with the article. Props to KJ for taking on a rough topic and reporting on it with class and accuracy. As a white student, I'm disgusted with the Greek community for letting these parties happen. I'm disgusted with the administration for not dealing with this shit. But then, W&M's history with race isn't pretty. What I'm most disgusted with are my fellow students both here and on Yik Yak who are saying absolutely nasty things about KJ. I wasn't going to comment on this article, I don't usually like to get pulled into these shitstorms. But I'm defending her because I know her. She wrote this because she believed the issue needed to be addressed. Our school continues to not address it but maybe now that people are threatening her they will. As for those of you on here who are attacking her and her journalistic integrity, I suggest you try to write up something that actually addresses this situation. Keep in mind it offended a lot of students on our campus. The theme itself, despite not sounding problematic, was interpreted to mean that the participants could show up dressed as black gangster stereotypes. That's what happened. KJ reported on that. She reported on it based on the sources available to her. For those attacking her, were you there? Would you like to be quoted by name about the party? No? Then fuck off.I stand with KJ, I will continue to stand with her and I will fight against racist crap wherever it erupts at this school. Sincerely, an anti-racist white ally.

  13. Marvin Shelton (To anyone else undermining this article)
    January 28, 2015 at 3:09 AM

    I hope you all know that people have entire careers dedicated to and funded at the national, state, and local level to address racist ideologies that you deem trivial and/or unprofessional to address. Enough said.

  14. Carlton Smith
    January 28, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    I want to say props to KJ for having the courage to report on such a topic. This is not an isolated incident, organizations have parties with these themes, (even a brown bag party once of twice), so its great that someone is finally calling them out on this. I too have experienced racism and discrimination during my four years here. But, how do we fix these issues? We need stricter punishments on these organizations, words are not enough. Be better william and mary. do better william and mary.

  15. Another disgusted reader
    January 29, 2015 at 2:07 PM

    Did I seriously just read an article based solely off of third-hand information and anonymous social media websites that implied several hundred W&M students are racist? Were these accusations leveled publicly without defense from the organizations accused? In the light of the shoddy journalism falsely accusing members of Greek organizations at UVa in recent weeks, one would think that the Flat Hat would have done better. But instead, they published this trash without actually interviewing any member of the organizations that were accused, and issued blanket accusations of racial insensitivity towards several hundred of our peers. In addition to the horrendous way in which the article was produced, I also question what part of these themes were actually insensitive? Gangster is defined simply as someone who is in a gang, which has no racial connotation. Personally, I think of Al Capone and his compatriots when I hear the word gangster, but in no way is the connotation homogeneous nor should it be offensive. And for golfers - the most popular golfer in the world is African American, and many professional golfers are of diverse ethnicities, so I fail to see even the slightest hint of racism in this one. As for "The War of Northern Aggression: Northern States vs South" how is a historical themed mixer offensive? Should the reenactors of Colonial Williamsburg offer trigger warnings in case any people of British heritage or nationality are in attendance? Should the Irish get offended on St. Patrick's day? Absolutely not. Take a history class, and you will learn that there are several ways to refer to the Civil War, and the name of the historical event itself should not be offensive. This politically correct culture is egregious, and seeing as these were allegedly private, off-campus events, if they happen to be offensive to you, then do not attend, and respect others' First Amendment rights - we are certainly respecting yours by putting up with this offensive article. Then again, we have no way of knowing if these events even transpired, let alone if the themes were racist, as the author has neither spoken to any member of the organizations in question nor received official confirmation of the themes from anyone speaking in authority. In short, calling these themes "racially insensitive" is a huge stretch, but debating whether the themes were insensitive is impossible due to the author's failure to complete even the most basic duties of journalism.

    • Bo
      January 29, 2015 at 8:02 PM

      Let's be forreal though, Tiger Woods kinda sucks these days. Only time will tell if he wins another major. And I just want to say that people should stop looking for stuff the complain about (Carlton) and just have a good time. These were solid party themes. Roll Tribe.

      • Thankful Student
        January 29, 2015 at 8:37 PM

        These were not ok party themes. I actually didn't go to one of my own mixers for this exact reason. It's insensitive and y'all don't even care. You make the greek community look bad.

        • Bo
          January 29, 2015 at 9:13 PM

          No, you make the Greek system look bad by being a whiny liberal. Go hang out with the geeds if you want to rant about your social activist bs. Stop trying to ban stuff and trust the organizations, which includes your own, to make their own choices. If you had a problem with it then you should bring it up at your next meeting instead of commenting on the Flat Hat

          • stahp.
            January 29, 2015 at 10:48 PM

            Trust them? Last time we trusted the Greek community to handle their own issues the frats voted to not have a ONE HOUR sexual assault prevention training, once a year. They. Couldn't. Even. Do. A. One. Hour. Sexual. Assault. Training. Wanna ask again why we don't trust the Greeks to police themselves? They don't.

    • Thankful Student
      January 29, 2015 at 8:41 PM

      You denying that the theme 'gangsters & golfers' is racially charged proves your insensitivity and ignorance. Someone dressing up like that on any given day is their first amendment right. But when it's a COLLEGE SANCTIONED, sorority and fraternity-approved and thrown event, any of those organizations can choose to deny the theme because it IS offensive to many minority students, including me. I shouldn't have to skip my own mixer because of the event's racist undertones. I shouldn't feel uncomfortable or stereotyped in the context of a mixer theme.

    • Thankful Student
      January 29, 2015 at 8:43 PM

      The College's code of ethics governs college-sanctioned and college-approved events, as well as student organizations' behavior. Quote from our ethics code: "Treat other people with dignity and respect, ensuring there is no discrimination or harassment at William & Mary."

    • Aud
      January 31, 2015 at 10:18 PM

      "As for ;The War of Northern Aggression: Northern States vs South' how is a historical themed mixer offensive? Should the reenactors of Colonial Williamsburg offer trigger warnings in case any people of British heritage or nationality are in attendance? Should the Irish get offended on St. Patrick's day? Absolutely not. Take a history class, and you will learn that there are several ways to refer to the Civil War, and the name of the historical event itself should not be offensive." Did I really just read this? o_O

  16. Thankful Student
    January 29, 2015 at 8:35 PM

    Thank you for writing this article. As a member of a sorority on campus (not any mentioned in the article), I've seen this happening for years and spoken to other sorority sisters who go to and plan those kind of events. It's really disturbing to see the way some non-minority students, especially within the Greek community, just brush off the way racially charged themes come off to the community and how they could offend students. I feel embarrassed when I see it. There's just no reasoning with people who don't care. Thank you, Flat Hat, for shining some light on a dark corner that I hope we move away from. I hope the pressure these organizations and individuals feel will encourage change.

  17. Bo
    January 30, 2015 at 7:54 AM

    All the geeds whined for punishment of all fraternities when the Sig Chi email leaked. Now just because a couple fraternities got caught with sweet mixer themes, the geeds want to punish everyone again.

  18. White Gangsta
    January 30, 2015 at 2:23 PM

    Not racist.

  19. An Alum
    January 31, 2015 at 4:15 PM

    When I hear of people wearing wife-beaters, the first image I have in mind is a white guy....

  20. Mr. Smith
    January 31, 2015 at 5:21 PM

    I hope this article will elevate the dialogue on campus among all relevant parties as to the issues of race, tolerance, and understanding. Seems like a good opportunity to come together.

  21. Yo
    February 20, 2015 at 2:41 AM

    Liberals are too sensitive, if you don't like the theme don't attend the function. It is as simple as that.

  22. Warren Joblin '60
    March 3, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    At age 76 I would like to add some objectivity to this issue. I've enjoyed all of your comments. This is what being at W&M is supposed to be "all about". Don't be too hard on each other; admit that you could be mistaken; consider everyone's sensibilities; and hope that what you've written today won't be an embarrassment tomorrow.

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