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Fairfield Students Don't Understand Why 'Ghetto Party' Was A Bad Idea

Some of them are totally oblivious to how culturally insensitive it is to dress as a stereotype.

Fairfield University said Monday it is investigating a "Ghetto Party" thrown at an off-campus beach house over the weekend, but some students are questioning why anyone's upset to begin with. 

The university, a Jesuit school in Fairfield, Connecticut, offered few details except to say its administration and diversity office are looking into reports of a "culturally insensitive party" hosted by students. Fairfield officials told the Connecticut Post they are "working to understand the details."

Fairfield University junior Iman Jebara told Fox 61 that some of her friends attended the party. She described one photo from the event showing a woman with a ball shoved under a white tank top to mimic a pregnancy, with a caption asking who the "daddy" was.

Fox 61 showed this photo, purportedly from the night of the party.
Fox 61 showed this photo, purportedly from the night of the party.

But some have responded by mocking concerns about stereotypical costumes, according to screenshots of conversations among students on Facebook. In one post, one student wrote, "I wore a hot dog costume to this party and now feel that my actions have caused emotional harm to all of the hot dog community. Specifically I would like to apologize to Mr. Oscar Meyer as I did not mean to portray your weiner in a negative fashion." 

According to Fox 61, another student wrote, "I am offended that the ghetto party was turned into a race issue. I know plenty of ghetto white people. #whitelivesmatter, #ghetto&proud."

"It's like Halloween, where I'm dressed as a gangster. Nobody said anything then," student Brian Mason told the Connecticut Post, adding that he had dressed that way as a 4-year-old. 

A university spokeswoman told The New York Times that 78 percent of Fairfield's full-time undergrads identify as white.

Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, the university's president, said in a letter to the campus Monday that the party's theme "perpetuated racial stereotypes that have no place in our community and only serve to offend and devalue people." He added that a student forum will be planned for later this week to discuss the incident. 

 

 

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Tyler Kingkade is a national reporter covering higher education, and is based in New York. You can reach him at tyler.kingkade@huffingtonpost.com, or find him on Twitter: @tylerkingkade.

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