For members of Penn State's chapter of Chi Omega sorority, just having a Mexican–themed party wasn't enough. They also dressed up in sombreros and mustaches. That evidently still wasn't adequate to drive home the fact that they were mocking the people their outfits portrayed. So they posed with signs that read, "Will mow lawn for weed + beer" and "I don't cut grass I smoke it." And just in case not enough people on campus had the chance to be offended, they posted the photos on Tumblr and Facebook for the world to see.
Now that the images — taken around Halloween this year — have been brought to the university's attention and the chapter is under investigation, its members have reportedly expressed "deep remorse."
We're not sure what's more troubling — the idea that the sorority members are sorry only because they're under scrutiny, or the possibility that it truly didn't occur to the girls (at least two of whom, it appears, are themselves racial minorities) that making fun of an entire group of people would be perceived as more hateful than celebratory.
From Yahoo News:
The photo was posted on Tumblr and Facebook, where Onward State was able to identify the women tagged in the photo as members of the Chi Omega sorority on campus.
Jessica Riccardi, the president of the Nu Gamma chapter of Chi Omega, confirmed to the student publication the Daily Collegian that the sorority is under investigation. Riccardi also issued an apology.
"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."
We think that Lisa Powers, director of public information at Penn State, hit the nail on the head in her statement to Yahoo News. She acknowledged that the students were within their First Amendment rights when they posed for the pictures, but she said she was "appalled" at the "insensitivity and lack of judgment" that they displayed.
Read more at Yahoo.