The women of Chi Omega Nu Gamma at Penn State may be regretting their Mexican-themed party. Sporting ponchos, sombreros and a few mustaches, women held signs that read "Will Mow Lawn for Weed + Beer" and "I Don't Cut Grass. I Smoke It."
The university is investigating the situation and, according to one source, is considering suspending the sorority. The Panhellenic Council executive board released a statement about the incident:
"The Penn State Panhellenic Council recognizes the offensive nature of the photo and is therefore taking the matter very seriously. We are addressing the situation immediately with the members of the chapter in conjunction with their national headquarters. The Penn State Panhellenic Council does not condone any form of derogatory behavior from any of our members. Our Council and all its members strive to hold ourselves to a high standard and are disappointed by any failure to meet these expectations."
Vice President of the Mexican American Student Association, Cesar Sanchez Lopez, also commented on the incident:
"The Mexican American Student Association is disappointed in the attire chosen by this sorority. It in no way represents our culture. Not only have they chosen to stereotype our culture with serapes and sombreros, but the insinuation about drug usage makes this image more offensive. Our country is plagued by a drug war that has led to the death of an estimated 50,000 people, which is nothing to be joked about."
Jessica Riccardi, president of the sorority chapter, issued this apology:
"Our chapter of Chi Omega sincerely apologizes for portraying inappropriate and untrue stereotypes. The picture in question does not support any of Chi Omega's values or reflect what the organization aspires to be."
The sorority has suffered some backlash. Posters criticizing the photo are circulated around campus.
- What's your reaction to the party? Is it offensive, just plain fun, or something else?
- What, if any, action do you think the university should take?