'Border Patrol' Party: University of Texas Says Phi Gamma Delta's Fraternity Party Did Not Violate Rules
Phi Gamma Delta's "border patrol" themed party held on Feb. 7 was ruled as not in violation of any university rules, and the University of Texas fraternity, also known as Fiji, will not be penalized, Daily Texan Online reports.
Soncia Reagins-Lilly, senior associate vice president for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, said the fraternity did not violate any rules because the party was held off campus.
The fraternity hosted a "border patrol" party where people dressed in sombreros, ponchos and construction hats that had names such as "Jefe" and "Pablo Sanchez."
"Civility, diversity and citizenship are integrated into the fabric of the University of Texas at Austin," Reagins-Lilly said. "There is ongoing work integrated in everything we do."
After Fiji hosted the party, the Office of the Dean of Students launched a formal investigation into the fraternity after receiving nearly 20 complaints about the party being offensive.
"We notified our chapter prior to the party via email that the theme was Western -- not south of the border or anything Mexican related," Fiji president Andrew Campbell said.
"It was our intention to monitor and enforce this policy to the best of our ability."
Campbell added, "If any individual or cultural groups were offended, Texas Fiji apologizes for any insensitivity that our guests or members may have portrayed. It is never Texas Fiji's intent to alienate or demean any ethnic group."
After the formal investigation and a protest against Fiji, the university announced, "While the behavior doesn't mirror UT core values, it's within students' right to freedom of speech at a private off campus event."
Reagins-Lilly said Fiji's party was just an example of cultural insensitivity on and around campus and that it will be used to promote better cultural practices at UT.
"It's not limited to any particular community," Reagins-Lilly said. "These are opportunities to talk about and learn from."
The protest against members of Phi Gamma Delta was meant for university officials to take action. Demonstrators held signs that read, "Our lives are not a joke."
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