A letter has been sent to students across the University of Michigan campus, apologizing for what is being called an 'offensive themed' party. The party, planned by Theta Xii was titled "World Star Hip Hop Presents: Hood Ratchet Thursday". The invitation was sent to students through a Facebook evite. It used several racial terms and quickly showed racially charged images. The party has since been cancelled.
Thursday's letter from the Vice President of Student Life, Dean of Students and Director of Greek Life read:
Dear U-M students,
We were deeply disappointed to learn that members of a university fraternity had planned an offensive themed party for November. The language of the invitation and theme of the party denigrated all women and African American/black identified people through racial stereotypes and cultural appropriation.
This behavior is offensive, disrespectful and unacceptable at the University of Michigan. It is unhealthy and harms everyone in the community. It is in direct contradiction to the values, policies and expectations of the University and will not be tolerated.
Immediately upon being informed, the Dean of Students, the coordinator of the Bias Response Team, together with the leadership of Greek Life and the Interfraternity Council (fraternity governance body) met with the fraternity chapter president to discuss the issue and begin taking appropriate corrective steps. The event has been cancelled.
We also are working collaboratively with the national fraternity headquarters, which has imposed restrictions on the fraternity until a full investigation occurs. An apology on behalf of the fraternity is forthcoming. Educational interventions with the fraternity will occur as well.
Disturbingly, negative stereotypes and misogynistic behavior are woven into popular culture today. We believe this reinforces the ongoing need to continually pay attention to diversity and engage in thoughtful, challenging conversations about social identities.
It is our expectation that significant learning for the campus community will emerge from these offensive actions. We are in the process of planning educational forums. With this and other measures we expect to repair the harm that has occurred in this situation and prevent its reappearance in the future. There is more work to do.
Please contact us with thoughts or ideas about this work or other educational efforts.
So far there has been no comment from members of the fraternity.