Frat Suspended After Blackface Photo Surfaces

Students dressed as gang members on multicultural weekend
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2018 5:40 AM CDT
Frat Suspended After Blackface Photo Surfaces
The Lambda Chi Alpha chapter at Southern Methodist University was shut down in 2016 for five years.   (David Woo/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

In what critics say was just the latest example of insensitive behavior at California Polytechnic State University, fraternity members dressed up as stereotypical gang members during the college's multicultural weekend—and one student was photographed in blackface. The Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity was quickly placed on interim suspension after two photos from the party, both of which can be seen here, surfaced on social media, the New York Times reports. The photos caused outrage on the San Luis Obispo campus, where records show just 166 of the 22,000 students are black, and an emergency town hall meeting Monday night was filled to overflowing.

The fraternity, which is being investigated both by Cal Poly and its national organization, has been ordered to cease all events and activities. The chapter apologized for the photographs but insisted they had been misinterpreted, saying they had been playing a game where different teams were represented by different colors and one student painted his face black to show he was on the black team. "We are extremely sorry and embarrassed for failing to recognize the racial impacts this brought forth," the chapter said in a statement. Students said that even if the chapter is telling the truth, the fact that they didn't recognize blackface is offensive shows the college, where a fraternity wasn't punished for a "Colonial Bros and Nava-Hos" party in 2013, has a long way to go, the Washington Post reports. (More fraternity stories.)

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