The ViewPoint

UCLA students protest after partygoers wear blackface at Kanye West-themed frat party

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






By Veronica Rocha

Los Angeles Times

(TNS)

LOS ANGELES—Chanting “Black Bruins Matter,” UCLA students crammed into Chancellor Gene Block’s office Thursday, demanding a response for a party described as racist after some students wore blackface to a Kanye West-themed fraternity party.

Holding signs reading, “Our culture is not a costume,” hundreds of students marched on campus days after the party sparked anger over its racial overtones.

Jerry Kang, vice chancellor for UCLA’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, told the crowd he was heartbroken because “black Bruins’ lives matter.” UCLA, he said, is trying to respond and address concerns.

“It’s one thing to suggest you are actually focusing on one celebrity who is African American, it’s another thing to take it as a license to perform every attribute, every stereotype, every grotesque minstrelsy that you see,” he said.

Students who attended the Tuesday night “Kanye Western” party thrown by Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Alpha Phi sorority wore baggy clothes, dressed like the Kardashians and some wore blackface, the Daily Bruin reported.

After photographs of the party surfaced on social media, students expressed concerns that the organizations’ actions were racist and mocked black culture, reigniting the social media hashtag #BlackBruinsMatter.

Alicia Frison, a student union member, told the Los Angeles Times that a student notified her and other members about the party Tuesday night after photographing some female partygoers who were wearing gold and had soot on their faces. Other female partygoers wore large fake butts and were balancing water bottles like Kim Kardashian did for her infamous Paper magazine photo shoot.

After the student took photographs of the partygoers, Frison said someone at the party told the student, “You can’t do that.” Not long after, the party ended at 11 p.m.

As Frison arrived to join a group of fellow black students who were standing outside the party, she said she saw a male student wearing blackface.

“The issue isn’t simply about putting on blackface,” she said. “It is also about the entire mockery of black culture.”

Kelsee Thomas, a member of the black student union, said students confronted fraternity members at the party. A fraternity member apologized, but laughed when he was asked to write a letter to the group, she said.

“Everyone keep in mind that simply because I go to one of the top ranked institutions in the country, doesn’t mean I’m any farther away from ignorance and racism as anyone else. They just hide it behind frat/sorority themes, anonymous postings, and micro-aggressions,” she said on Facebook. “This isn’t over though.”

UCLA said it is investigating the party and talking to students.

“We do not yet have all the facts, the alleged behavior is inconsistent with good judgment as well as our principles of community,” UCLA said in a statement. “We remind students that while they are free to celebrate in ways that draw on popular culture, their specific choices can cause harm and pain to fellow members of their community. Put simply: Just because you can do something, does not mean you should.”

Sigma Phi Epsilon’s national office says the UCLA fraternity has temporarily suspended activities as it investigates the incident. UCLA said Alpha Phi sorority’s social activities have also been temporarily suspended.

“Building diverse and inclusive communities is core to our identity as an organization, and we have zero tolerance for racist behavior,” the organization’s spokesman, Beaux Carriere, said in a statement. “Sigma Phi Epsilon will continue to work with the university and UCLA community to investigate these claims and hold students accountable for any inappropriate behavior.”

The Los Angeles Times reached out to the sorority for comment.

©2015 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • UCLA students protest after partygoers wear blackface at Kanye West-themed frat party

    Campus

    Northeast Phi Beta Lambda students attend Fall Leadership Conference in Omaha

  • UCLA students protest after partygoers wear blackface at Kanye West-themed frat party

    Campus

    Did you vote?

  • UCLA students protest after partygoers wear blackface at Kanye West-themed frat party

    Activities

    Digital Cinema students are slowing things down

  • UCLA students protest after partygoers wear blackface at Kanye West-themed frat party

    Campus

    Northeast club offers understanding of the Catholic faith

  • UCLA students protest after partygoers wear blackface at Kanye West-themed frat party

    Campus

    A look into the Halloween dance

  • UCLA students protest after partygoers wear blackface at Kanye West-themed frat party

    Campus

    Galterio named First Team All-Region; three others earn All-Region status

  • Campus

    Monday Night at the Movies

  • Campus

    The Media Arts Program at Northeast Community College

  • UCLA students protest after partygoers wear blackface at Kanye West-themed frat party

    Campus

    A spook-tacular event

  • UCLA students protest after partygoers wear blackface at Kanye West-themed frat party

    Campus

    Northeast named one of the most affordable colleges in the country

No announcement available or all announcement expired.
The official student newspaper of Northeast Community College.
UCLA students protest after partygoers wear blackface at Kanye West-themed frat party