Veterans Outraged At Frat’s Military Uniform ‘Cultural Appropriation’

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

A college fraternity is under fire after trying to schedule a “camo party” to finish its Military Appreciation Week.

Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at the College of William & Mary received backlash from the school’s Student Veteran Association regarding a party the group hosted featuring camo outfits, according to The Flat Hat, a student newspaper at the college.

“I told [Pi Kappa Alpha members] that what they were doing isn’t acceptable and that the military doesn’t appreciate it,” said Tim Beck, president of the Student Veteran Association. “No one is fooled by this cultural appropriation. It’s a disgrace to the uniform, it’s a disgrace to the people who died while wearing this uniform.”

“It is also a disgrace to the veteran population living in this area,” he added. “Why is it ok to do this here and not in Newport News? The answer to that is because they know they can get away with this here. William and Mary lets kids do things that are offensive without calling them out.”

Beck reported the Pi Kappa Alpha party to William & Mary’s Student Leadership Development Office with the hope that the office and the Interfraternity Council will take action.

“We take instances of racism, cultural appropriation and disrespect seriously and will hold our member organizations accountable for behavior inconsistent with our values,” Tommy Rubino, president of the school’s Interfraternity Council, said to The Flat Hat.

“When we have veterans that are coming back from combat that our traditional student body doesn’t understand, we have aided that blending with storytelling events, our military appreciation games,” explained Beck, “you decrease this stigma that is associated with being a combat veteran.”

“When we have these events, like the [Pi Kappa Alpha] ‘Vietnam’ party, it derails all of the progress that we’ve made.”

Beck and other students are filing impact statements detailing what they perceive to be harmful effects “cultural appropriation” could have on student veterans. They plan to proceed with a case against the fraternity heard by either the Student Leadership Development Office or the Interfraternity Council.

There are 251 student veterans at William & Mary when accounting for those on both the undergraduate and graduate sides of the school. One-third to one-fourth of the students are tied, like through family, to the armed forces, reported The Flat Hat, citing research conducted by the Veterans Task Force.

William & Mary informed The Daily Caller News Foundation “that it takes those concerns seriously” and “that while one or more student organizations were involved, this party was held off campus and was not a W&M sanctioned event.”

TheDCNF reached out to Pi Kappa Alpha and the Student Veteran Association for comment but received none in time for press.

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