“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.