While Clemson students protested non-indictments in Ferguson and Staten Island on campus this weekend, some frat bros decided to elevate the race discussion by dressing like gang members. Sigma Alpha Epsilon threw a "Clemson Cripmas" theme party Saturday night, which featured a lot of white kids sporting fake tear drop tattoos.
The photos of the event are about as bad as you'd imagine.
— Dahlia S (@DahliaLeanna) December 7, 2014
— sankofa (@_MisterCharming) December 7, 2014
— Inside Clemson (@InsideClemson) December 7, 2014
It's not clear if the Cripmas party was a direct response to Ferguson protesters on campus, but according to posts on Yik Yak, racial tensions at the university are high. Students (perhaps the same frat bros who think it's funny to dress up like gang members) have posted comments like "what are these tar babies doing on Bowman Field" and "go back to Africa!" in response to black student activism.
Student protesters told Clemson President Jim Clements on Sunday that he could not stay silent about racism on campus now, especially after Cripmas. One student explained,
Which Clemson are you going to side with? ...We're happy that you're as a first step...but there's a distinct sense that through the silence that the university has had, you're taking sides with another Clemson. A Clemson that wants to harken back to the days of (former racist Governor of South Carolina) Ben Tillman. The silence seems to support that. ... We still hear this kind of safe language.
Clements did release a statement to the university yesterday, but his language was pretty safe. He wrote:
At a time of year when our thoughts are turning to family, holidays and the start of a new year – all the things that unite us and bring us joy — it is discouraging that so many events and issues are causing division and hurt, and making many students feel unwanted at this great university. It hurts to read disrespectful and just plain mean comments in social media. Last night's "Cripmas" party, which the university did not sanction, raised more concerns about the campus climate. Clemson is better than this.
Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion about events in Ferguson, Staten Island and the protest rallies that those events have spawned. Great universities are built on the free expression and exploration of ideas. But the free expression of opinion must not cross the line and become harassment or intimidation, just as rallies and protest marches must not cross the line to lawlessness.
Oh well, nice attempt. University officials are still "investigating" the Cripmas party and have threatened to suspend frat bros who attended it.
[Photo via Instagram]