A party with the theme “CMT versus BET” – with students wearing outfits inspirited by Country Music Television and Black Entertainment Television – is being investigated by leaders at McDaniel College in Westminster.
The incident involved McDaniel's chapters of the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority and the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, the college told FOX45. Officials said the "non-approved college event" was held at an off-campus residence in late January.
"Upon learning of this incident in early February, the college partnered with the national headquarters of these student chapters to launch an ongoing investigation," a college spokesperson said. "Decisions will be forthcoming and sanctions will be determined."
School spokeswoman Cheryl Knauer told
DC the college learned of the party in early February and launched an
investigation along with the national headquarters of the Phi Sigma Sigma
sorority and the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
The McDaniel Free Press student newspaper reported Wednesday that the women wore cutoff shorts, plaid shirts and boots, while the men wore baggy clothing, chains and backward baseball caps.
Racially themed parties have caused controversy on college campuses across the country. The Kappa Sigma fraternity at Duke University was suspended earlier this month by its parent organization after throwing an Asian-themed party featuring geisha outfits and intentional misspellings. Last month, a party at Arizona State University’s fraternities sparked outrage after using Martin Luther King Jr. as its theme while partygoers flashed gang signs and wore saggy pants and posed with hollowed-out watermelon cups.
McDaniel’s Vice President for Student Affairs Beth Gerl told CBS that the college supports inclusiveness.
“Any event that promotes negative stereotypes or disrespect of others is reprehensible,” she said. “When an incident like this occurs it is a teachable moment.”
The college’s Black Student Union President, Serena Hueitt, told the student newspaper that her group is working to change how African-Americans are viewed, and this might be a setback.
“Dressing up seems to play into the stereotypes of people of African-American descent. I don’t think it’s right to do that,” Hueitt said.