UCI Fraternity Suspends Itself After Blackface Incident | Not in Our Town

UCI Fraternity Suspends Itself After Blackface Incident

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Lambda Theta Delta, the largest and oldest Asian American fraternity at the University of California, Irvine, suspended their status as a registered campus organization after a video sparks controversy on campus. The video depicts four members of Lambda Theta Delta lip-syncing to the Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z song “Suit and Tie” with one of the members in blackface.
Lambda Theta Delta chair Darius Obana has publicly apologized for the “extremely racist” and “highly offensive” video and stated that the individuals involved have been reprimanded, according to the KCPP. But this incident has brought to light many questions about campus climate and safety.  
Ainaria Johnson, co-chairwoman of UCI’s Black Student Union, told the Los Angeles Times, “First of all we’d like to point out that this blackface video isn’t the first, not is it the last, example of racism that’s been shown on this campus.” Johnson claims that Black Student Union members have been forced to move dorms because of racist comments by their peers. Earlier this month, a mother claimed her daughter, a UCI student, was victim to a hate crime on campus (see the story on ABC News.)
Student organizers and community members are now looking to campus administrators to take action. On April 26, UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake stated that he was “shocked” and “dismayed” by the video’s “offensive and bewildering insensitivity.” He assured students and faculty that an investigation of the incident was underway and expressed sympathy to those affected by the video.
In response to criticisms of the video, Lambda Theta Delta has suspended its status as a campus organization. This suspension means that the fraternity cannot organize major events, like rush or their annual dance competition. Members have started to planning educational programs and community events to continue the dialogue around campus climate and safety, according to ABC News

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