Halloween bias incident counter to BGSU values, but did not violate code of conduct

Nine Bowling Green State University students who dressed up as Mexicans and denigrated the concept of cultural appropriation on social media will not face discipline under the student code of conduct, though they will be required to meet with administrators to discuss the Halloween incident. The fraternity has also agreed to other actions. In a statement to the BGSU community issued Wednesday President Rodney Rogers and Vice President for Student Affairs Thomas Gibson said the investigation into the action of nine fraternity members has been completed. Though Gibson and Rogers did not name the fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, has issued an apology for the incident. In the administration’s statement, Rogers and Gibson write: “While their actions were inappropriate and counter to BGSU’s Core Values on diversity and inclusion, the reported behavior is protected speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and our own policy on free speech and expression. Therefore, there was no violation of the student code of conduct.” The nine students, however, have been suspended from the fraternity for at least one year and must apply to be readmitted. In its apology, the fraternity said: “The costumes pictured were offensive, arrogant, and insensitive.” Pi Kappa Alpha promised to cooperate with the university on sanctions to the nine students. The behavior, the fraternity said, was “unacceptable,” and does not reflect “who we are a chapter or as citizens to the community.” The fraternity and administration agreed to a series of sanctions: • The chapter will appoint a Diversity and Inclusion Chair. The fraternity member appointed to this role will meet with staff from the Office of the Dean of Students to learn about campus resources to educate active and future members on diversity and inclusion. • The chapter will work with the Office of the Dean of Students to identify a speaker to come to campus next semester to talk about diversity and inclusion. All members of the fraternity will attend, and the presentation will be open to the campus community. • The chapter will identify a community service project for spring 2019 that focuses on the Latino/a/x community. In addition, the Office of the Dean of Students will meet with each of the students involved in the incident to discuss their choices and how they do not align with our values as a university.

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