A “ghetto-themed” off-campus party allegedly held by U.C. San Diego (UCSD) students called the “Compton Cookout,” is being investigated for being racist and sexist.
The event was held last week in “honor” of Black History Month, and the invitation spread via Facebook urged guys to be “rockin’ Jersey’s, stuntin’ up ya White T (XXXL smallest size acceptable.)
Girls were advised to be like “ghetto chicks,” who have gold teeth, start fights and drama, and wear cheap clothes–they consider Baby Phat to be high class and expensive couture. They also have short, nappy hair and usually wear cheap weaves, usually in bad colors such as purple or bright red.”
University Chancellor Mayre Anne Fox sent an e-mail to students and staff saying the party showed “blatant disregard of our campus values.”
University officials are also investigating whether the party and Facebook invitation violated the university’s code of conduct and whether its sponsor should or could be disciplined.
The U.C. Regents are investigating the incident as well.
Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity is accused of holding the party, but the group’s president, Garron Engstrom, said the party was neither planned nor endorsed by the organization. Engstrom also stated that the actions are in violation of the fraternity’s code of conduct, and any individuals involved will undergo disciplinary action.
People on campus protesting the event were also mocked via Student Run Television (SRTV), an action which prompted the University’s Associated Students organization closed SRTV in response to the unauthorized broadcast.
Funding for SRTV is now in question while the student government reviews its policies in regard to student funded media.
Danny Widener, director of the African American studies program is livid about the events that transpired and notes that Black students make up less than 2% of the school’s undergraduate population and that the incidents makes the campus seem very unwelcoming.
“The campus climate is one in which you are constantly regarded as a statistical anomaly at best,” said Widener.
In response to the incident, administration officials organized a teach-in held yesterday “to discuss the importance of mutual respect and civility.” It was open to the public and was attended by faculty staff, students of U.C. San Diego, other schools, and members of the community.
The teach-in was divided into three parts: First, an educational piece to help attendees understand the history behind this particular type of stereotyping, why it happened, what is the problem with it, and why it is still happening.
Second was a piece on intersectionality, which is the study of how many different things intersect in society, leading the group to understand how racism, classism and sexism come together, when something like this happens, and how may people don’t even understand what is going on.
The last piece pulled everything together so the campus community could have an intellectual understanding of what is going on so they can begin to talk about it.
In addition to the teach-in UCSD is also launching an anti-racism campaign themed “Racism: Not in Our Community” to emphasize the message that the campus does not condone hate.
The campus is providing special services for individuals who may be struggling with the incident. The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) counselors are available for private conversations.
The university has increased its security so that all students feel safer. The UCSD police is working in conjunction with the San Diego police to patrol the campus and its outer perimeters.
“We take any racial incident seriously, and are exhaustively investigating the incidents,” said UCSD Police.