Black face with baggy pants. Indian headdresses with bows and arrows. Taking pictures with slanted eyes. We got through one Halloween with no outwardly racist costumes hitting the internet.
But a sorority at Penn State University has come under fire recently for their depiction of a “fiesta” complete with sombreros, mustaches, and most offensive: signs that read “will mow lawn for weed & beer,” and “I don’t cut grass, I smoke it.”
The Penn State chapter of Chi Omega is now facing punishment after the photograph surfaced on Facebook.
Jessica Riccardi, the president of the Nu Gamma chapter of Chi Omega, issued a formal apology and confirmed to the student publication that the sorority is under investigation.
“Our chapter of Chi Omega sincerely apologizes for portraying inappropriate and untrue stereotypes. The picture in question does not support any of Chi Omega’s values or reflect what the organization aspires to be.”
The Penn State Panhellenic Council executive board released a statement to the Daily Collegian:
“We are addressing the situation immediately with the members of the chapter in conjunction with their national headquarters.”
But others weren’t so quick to ride the race wave. Lisa Powers told Yahoo News that the punishment threatens the First Amendment.
“This photo has been brought to our attention, and we have looked into the issue,” Lisa Powers, director of public information at Penn State, said in a statement to Yahoo News.
“The students in the photo are within their First Amendment rights to express themselves in this way,” Powers said. “Although we are certainly appalled that they would display this level of insensitivity and lack of judgment.”
Furthermore, Powers added, “These costumes and this group do not represent fraternity and sorority life at Penn State, nor the 95,000 students who attend our university. The Chi Omega sorority sisters have expressed deep remorse over this incident.”
Say what you will, but there is a thin line between freedom of speech and outright bigotry.
PHOTO SOURCE: Facebook
SOURCE: Yahoo News