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cripmas

One of the largest fraternities in North America, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, thought it would be clever to mock the L.A. Crips gang in the wake of Ferguson and Eric Garner protests this past weekend.

Members of the fraternity threw a “Clemson Cripmas”-themed party at Clemson University on Saturday night, wherein white kids donned fake tear-drop tattoos and red bandanas. The public caught wind of the party after pictures were posted to Twitter.

After seeing photos of the party on social media accounts, SAE’s national headquarters suspended the fraternity.

Both the Ferguson and Eric Garner protests on campus have caused racial tension between students, some of whom posted comments such as “what are these tar babies doing on Bowman Field” and “go back to Africa!” in response to recent black advocacy program events.

Student protesters told the school’s President Jim Clements on Sunday that he should not remain silent about racism on campus. Said one student:

Which Clemson are you going to side with? …We’re happy that you’re as a first step…but there’s a distinct sense that through the silence that the university has had, you’re taking sides with another Clemson. A Clemson that wants to harken back to the days of (former racist Governor of South Carolina) Ben Tillman. The silence seems to support that. … We still hear this kind of safe language.

Clements took the student protester’s advice when he released a statement to the university on Monday:

At a time of year when our thoughts are turning to family, holidays and the start of a new year – all the things that unite us and bring us joy — it is discouraging that so many events and issues are causing division and hurt, and making many students feel unwanted at this great university. It hurts to read disrespectful and just plain mean comments in social media. Last night’s “Cripmas” party, which the university did not sanction, raised more concerns about the campus climate. Clemson is better than this.

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion about events in Ferguson, Staten Island and the protest rallies that those events have spawned. Great universities are built on the free expression and exploration of ideas. But the free expression of opinion must not cross the line and become harassment or intimidation, just as rallies and protest marches must not cross the line to lawlessness.

Although it is unclear if the “Clemson Cripmas” theme was in direct response to the protests, school officials are investigating and have threatened to suspend frat boys who attended the party.

SOURCE: Gawker | PHOTO SOURCE: Screenshot

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