DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) — Southern Methodist University is looking into two different fraternities after members posted a party with a theme some on campus found racist.
Alpha Epsilon Pi and Pi Kappa Alpha had organized a party together they referred to as “Ice Age.” The picture of party flyer shows an African-American man sporting gold teeth and a chain with images of money and a woman’s backside in the reflection of his sunglasses.
The description of the party says the intent of the gathering was to “throw the most savage banger in SMU history.” It also encouraged those invited to “bring out you bling, jerseys and inner thug.”
“I mean honestly I was so appalled that no one looked at that and thought, you know maybe not, maybe not the best decision here,” said Layla Gulley, a senior at SMU.
Gulley was one of the first people to tweet about the party she feels is racist and insensitive.
“I’m tired because every year around this time this happens,” Gulley said. “The fact that no one saw the image paired with the verbiage and said we shouldn’t do this is alarming.”
Calls and emails to PiKE were not returned.
A spokesperson for AEPi, a Jewish fraternity that has been on campus for less than a year, sent a statement:
“After discussion, our undergraduate brothers at SMU now understand that their social media post could have been perceived by some as offensive. At no time was there ever any intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable, unsafe or offended. Of course, as a fraternity dedicated to preserving the culture and traditions of the Jewish community, we understand discrimination and hatred and would never intentionally seek to insult any other campus group. As soon as we realized that our post caused harm to others, it was taken down and the event was canceled. College is a time of learning, and we ask our campus community to accept our apology and our heartfelt desire to learn from this experience to be more sensitive with our words and actions.”
SMU President R. Gerald Turner sent out a letter to the campus after learning about the party.
“Dear SMU community members:
I am deeply concerned about the recent actions of two campus fraternities in planning and promoting an off-campus party with racially offensive themes and images. This party was not sanctioned by SMU, and this incident is under review by the university.
Although the offensive party has been cancelled, and the inappropriate Facebook promotions have been removed, the key point is that SMU students should know better than to engage in such irresponsible and insensitive conduct. It is simply unacceptable for any campus group or individual to employ images and language that promote negative stereotypes and are demeaning to the dignity of any member of our campus community. If students choose to create themes based on their ideas of popular culture, they should be aware of the potential impact and always keep in mind respect for others.”
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