Just two weeks after Chi Omega's controversial party photo surfaced on Facebook, students at Penn State are planning a silent march today, hoping to increase Latino recruitment and retention.
Photographer: NBCLATINO.com screen grab
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State president Rodney Erickson admonished students who wore costumes and held offensive signs in photographs circulated on the Internet, but said in a campus-wide letter Thursday that the school won't pursue disciplinary action.
The letter didn't specifically reference the photos or name the Chi Omega sorority, which has apologized. But Erickson said it became clear in recent days that some students "celebrated Halloween in costumes that offended others" and acted contrary to university values.
One sign in the photo of sorority sisters says "will mow lawn for weed + beer." Two women holding signs are wearing fake mustaches. Others in the photo wore sombreros.
Erickson said the "disturbing behaviors" were protected by free speech rights. He said he was disappointed and dismayed, but hoped that lessons would be learned from the case.
"The simplest of those lessons is that costumes that include blackface, or that parody or imitate a person or groups of people, are always offensive to someone," Erickson said. "They convey either a lack of awareness about the human condition and human sensitivities or, worse yet, disdain for the thoughts, feelings, histories and experiences of others.
"It is that belief that calls upon all Penn Staters, wherever they may be, to reflect for a moment on the value of diversity in the university and the broader communities we inhabit," he added.
Also Thursday, a posting on the Chi Omega national chapter's website said the Penn State sorority has been placed on probation. The posting cited members "portraying inappropriate and untrue ethnic stereotypes at a social function."
Chi Omega's Memphis-based national office said it was working closely with Penn State and the school's Panhellenic Council to "implement corrective educational directives for the chapter."
"I am disappointed in the choices made by our Nu Gamma Chapter members and we regret any pain caused," Chi Omega national president Letitia Fulkerson said in the statement. "Chi Omega does not condone behavior that violates our organization's policy on human dignity."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
One person will win a three-year lease on a 2013 Honda Civic Lx Sedan automatic.
Click to see the latest mugshots, plus this week's wanted fugitives.
This feature packed upgrade brings you faster performance, easier navigation, and stunning improvements to photos, video and readability.
Latest News Stories
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office SWAT team members have surrounded a home in the 5000 block of Purdy Lane where a man accused of stabbing another man has barricaded himself inside.