A Dartmouth fraternity and sorority fundraising event, “Phiesta,” has been cancelled after a student showed concerns over the event being offensive.
“Phiesta” was planned as a fundraising event for cardiac care. It would have featured a lawn performance of the band “Burn the Barn,” Boloco burritos, free virgin pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris, chips and salsa, and homemade guacamole.
Class of ’15 student Daniela Hernandez, after hearing about the event, sent an email to Greek Letter Organizations and Societies, GLOS director Wes Schaub, Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson, the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, and the Panhellenic Council about her concerns over “Phiesta” and the theme being racially insensitive.
The following portion of Hernandez’s email was printed in The Dartmouth:
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“There are various problematic structures and ideologies regarding a Cinco de Mayo-inspired event, and I am sure that we, as a Dartmouth community, could learn from the extensive literature written about the Americanization of Cinco de Mayo and its construction as a drinking holiday in the United States, cultural appropriation and the inappropriate usage of cultural clothing, and the exploitation of groups of people and cultures for the sake of business opportunities.”
Hernandez’s email caused the Phi Delta Alpha fraternity and Alpha Phi sorority to rethink whether “Phiesta” should go on as planned.
“We take these concerns very seriously,” Alpha Phi president Courtney Fong said. “And we want to make sure that we respect the diversity of the broader community.”
“We felt that the possibility of offending even one member of the Dartmouth community was not worth the potential benefits of having the fundraiser,” Phi Delta Alpha president Taylor Cathcart said.
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Hernandez has not received a response to her email, even as it has sparked discussion and resulted in the canceling of “Phiesta.”
As for “Phiesta,” Hernandez says she was not surprised by the event even though she found it offensive.
“As a Mexican-born, United-States-raised, first-generation woman of color, it was sadly unsurprising that a culturally-themed party was seen as a casual venture for such a privileged institution such as Dartmouth,” Hernandez said. “I believe that social consciousness and cultural awareness is something that we need to work on as a community.”
In response to the event, Greek members held an informal meeting to discuss insensitivity, reports Campus Reform. One of the topics discussed was whether “Phiesta” was politically incorrect.
Here is the invitation, via Barstool Sports: