“Gangsta” Party Stirs Backlash Against Penn Greeks

Beta Theta Pi and Chi Omega criticized for racial insensitivity.

Just a week after Chi Omega shut down its Penn State chapter in the wake of a party that relied on Mexican stereotypes for entertainment, the national sorority’s Penn outpost finds itself on defense in a similar incident. The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that Chi Omega and fraternity Beta Theta Pi held a “gangsta”-themed mixer on Penn campus over the weekend, stirring backlash from other student groups: A petition is seeking a university investigation of the matter.

Both groups issued statements regarding the event.

“Our chapter leadership is aware of this matter, and we are handling it privately and internally with our members,” Chi O president and Wharton junior Maria Guadagnino said in an email statement.

“This past weekend, an off-campus event took place in which members of our fraternity behaved in a manner that is not indicative of the values of Beta Theta Pi,” (Beta Theta Pi president Daniel) Zuvia said in an email statement.

“We are deeply sorry for our actions as they were insensitive and inappropriate. This was an unfortunate lapse in judgment, and we take full responsibility,” he said. “We are working with the University and our national organization to address the situation and make amends to the Penn community.”

Members of minority student organizations at Penn criticized the party in a Daily Pennsylvanian op-ed earlier this week:

 Individuals in the Penn community should understand a clear fact: These parties mock certain cultures, people of lower-income status and/or people of color, ultimately dividing our campus. These parties also misrepresent the purpose of the organizations that hold them, some of which represent our university with pride and provide safety and refuge for students that find Penn to be home.

No word on the university’s response.

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  • Caraby

    Absolutely horrified! Would this happen in Lower Merion? Not!!!

  • RightsTough

    So the fact that the “Gangsta” life style exists and always lead to horrific endings for these foolish, naive young black men is irrelevant. What’s relevant is that it’s “insensitive” to mock this same gangsta life style. We are MIS GUIDED in America and it’s getting worse. Did you ever think that if we MOCKED these ridiculous life styles then – perhaps- these ghetto kids would start to get it”?

    • Taoish

      So you think these frat boys were issuing a thoughtful critique of the excesses of Black culture, and are being unfairly censored for doing so? Huh, it looks to me like they were just being drunken racist idiots. In real life, this “lifestyle” is celebrated a lot more on the iPods of the White kids who buy this music than in any actual neighborhood in the real world.

      • RightsTough

        You be a racist!

  • David .whitnack

    Racism only exists because people are either fearful (physically), embarrassed or disgusted by various general forms of behavior exhibited overwhelmingly by any particular class or gender. Mocking is nothing more than a lighthearted for of therapy for those doing the mocking and, just maybe, a hopeful exhibit that, just maybe, the mocked will get a full frontal view of how rediculous their behavior truly is.

    • ashamedpennalum

      Which group are you talking about? Which group here was behaving ridiculously and therefore should be mocked? I believe it is the actions of those throwing the parties at a university that I personally hold very dear to my own heart. Their actions were shameful and a disgrace to those that came before them.