The Afrikan Student Union at UCLA released an official statement on the Sigma Phi Epsilon and Alpha Phi “Kanye Western” party held Monday,October 5,2015:
On the night of Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 the UCLA chapters of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Alpha Phi sorority threw a party themed ‘Kanye Western’. At this party, students were encouraged to dress as Kanye West or in Western themed attire. Eyewitnesses reported seeing students wearing pants stuffed to resemble large butts, durags, gold chains and other clothing representative of stereotypical BlackCulture. Some students were even covered in brown paint and black soot to resemble the complexion of African American people.
This incident is further compounded by the fact that it occurred during ASU-sponsored Black Bruin Welcome Week. However, the black experience at UCLA is an ongoing struggle.
Black students comprise 4% of the UCLA student body. Retaining ourselves at a Predominantly White Institution has proved to be extremely challenging over the years, which is clear through the high rates of Black Bruins who are dismissed every year. We as a people feel uncomfortable at our own institution because it almost encourages a campus climate that disrespects and stereotypes communities of color.
We recognize that this as part of a perception that is not only threatening, but immediately harmful to the academic, social, and physical environment of the collective black community within and beyond UCLA. Due to an overwhelming response from all sectors of the Black Bruin Community and the collective convening presence of our community immediately following the event (on the night of October 7th), we the Afrikan Student Union at UCLA verbally re-affirm that we will not accept blatant acts of cultural insensitivity. As a result, we are planning an action for tomorrow, October 8th on Bruin Walk at 12pm to raise communal awareness and provide a healing space for our community in support of our Black Bruins. We will also be following up with UCLA administration to make sure that UCLA no longer fails students of color and does all they can to make the campus climate better for Black students.
Following the release of their statement, the National Pan-Hellenic Council at UCLA also released a statement in solidarity. The National Pan-Hellenic Council is the collection of nine historically African American, international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities.
The National Pan Hellenic Council at UCLA is deeply disheartened by the racially intolerant “KanyeWestern” event hosted by both Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and Alpha Phi Sorority on the night of October 6th.