Clemson University’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and its members are in hot water after hosting an offensive off-campus party over the weekend that they called “Clemson Cripmas,” WYFF News 4 reports.
The obviously gang-related party, a supposed nod to the Los Angeles gang, which is primarily African American, sparked the ire of students and the South Carolina university’s president. According to WYFF, the frat’s officers were suspended by the national organization, and some have also resigned. All frat activities have also been suspended at the school.
“The decision of a few brothers to hold this type of social event is inexcusable and completely inappropriate,” the national Sigma Alpha Epsilon organization said in a statement on its website announcing the suspensions, according to Raw Story.
School officials noted, according to Raw Story, that Clemson’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon has no black members.
University officials hinted that more suspensions could come. “Many of our students of color were infuriated, outraged and upset by the ‘Cripmas’ party,” Clemson Chief Diversity Officer Leon Wiles said, according to Raw Story. “Some white students didn’t think it was a big deal and didn’t understand why there was such a strong reaction.”
“It is discouraging that so many events and issues are causing division and hurt, and making many students feel unwanted at this great university,” university President Jim Clements said in a statement, according to WYFF. “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,” he continued. “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.”
Together with school officials, a diverse group of student leaders, including members of Greek life, have agreed to stop theme-based parties, WYFF notes.