Blackface Costumes at Parties Trigger Punishment at Northwest

MARYVILLE, Mo.

Fraternity monitors at Northwest Missouri State University have punished two chapters whose members appeared at Halloween parties in blackface.

Two White males appeared in costume at separate parties, and photographs of the incidents made their way around campus. One man wore a green hooded sweatshirt and dreadlocks, depicting a man suspected of firing a gun in a campus parking lot on homecoming weekend, which happened just before Halloween.

Another man was pictured at a fraternity house party dressed as Michael Vick, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback who pleaded guilty to dog fighting charges.

Although one of the incidents occurred at a party off campus, the Interfraternity Council sanctioned the Delta Chi and Phi Sigma Kappa fraternities because the students are members of those groups.

The punishments will require each chapter to host a multicultural speaker at Northwest next fall, complete 200 hours of community service, conduct internal education sessions for members and issue written apologies to the university’s fraternity and administrative leaders, including university president Dean L. Hubbard.

Stefano Duley, president of Alpha Phi Alpha and member of the Alliance of Black Collegians on campus, said the Black community was angered by the incidents.

“It’s a total lack of respect,” Duley said. “No one has called it a racist act, but it does involve the sensitive issue of race. The history of blackface goes back a long way.”

One of the students met with Duley and a group of Black collegians, and was apologetic. He said he wasn’t aware that his costume was offensive, Duley said.

“We spent some time educating him on the history of blackface and how it hurt a lot of people on a multitude of levels,” Duley said.

–Associated Press

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