California Polytechnic State University placed its fraternities and sororities on interim suspension Tuesday after photos surfaced showing a frat brother in blackface and others attired as gang members.
The school referenced Greek life hazing, sexual assaults, and even deaths in its decision to suspend the organizations, reported The Tribune.
“I understand this impacts Greek Life organizations that have been operating responsibly and with integrity,” Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong said in a statement. “However, Greek Life is a privilege at this university and until all fraternities and sororities are conducting themselves in a manner that is respectful of all students — as well as holding each other accountable — they will not have a place at Cal Poly.”
These photos in question, in which the university has responded in a suspension of all Greek Life at Cal Poly. “Until all fraternities and sororities are conducting themselves in a manner that is respectful of all students. They will not have a place at Cal Poly.” @KSBY pic.twitter.com/UFuxW2ZPMX
— Megan Abundis (@meganrabundis) April 18, 2018
The photos derived from Sigma Nu frat brothers who attended a party at Cal Poly’s Lambda Chi Alpha chapter. The school suspended Sigma Nu students featured in the third photo and the frat president called for a cultural appropriation presentation, as well as offered an apology to affected communities.
“These problems have included racially charged and insensitive events, sexual assaults, hazing and alcohol-related deaths and violations of the university’s code of conduct regarding hosting social events,” Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier told The Tribune. “Too often, the Greek organizations have allowed members to do wrong, and they have not intervened to prevent or correct obvious problems.”
Lazier suggested that the school did not intend the suspension to be a punishment, but instead as a way of saying “Greek Culture as a whole is broken.”
“This conduct is disgusting and inexcusable, and it goes against what it means to be a fraternity man at Cal Poly,” Cal Poly’s Interfraternity Council said. “We strongly condemn this behavior, because racism and discrimination are anti-ethical to what the Interfraternity Council stands for. As we said last week — and it is all the more relevant today — we firmly commit to hold our community accountable to the values we strive to live by.”
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