College Fraternity Accused of Racism for Party with Grass Skirts, Coconut Bras
The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) is under fire for hosting a fundraising party that included students wearing grass skirts and coconut bras.
Phi Gamma Delta chapters at numerous colleges in the U.S. hold these "Islander" parties each year for charity, but some UCI students say the clothing and party theme was culturally insensitive to Pacific Islanders.
The party, which was held on May 15, was protested by some students who held a sign that read: “This is not Fiji, this is racist,” reports the Orange County Register.
"If this was done to any other group on campus that has more people, the university would have issued a statement," Save Gasaiwai, a Fijian student at UCI, told the Daily Pilot.
Gasaiwai has 850 signatures on a petition that calls for UCI to stop college organizations from hosting parties like the Islander.
Phi Gamma Delta has not commented on the controversy, but the Asian Pacific Student Association (APSA) at the University of California at Irvine condemned the fraternity in a press release.
APSA said: "It is too often that fraternities and sororities choose racist themes for their parties and events" and claimed that "acts of cultural appropriation that hurt marginalized People of Color communities because they maintain and fortify white male hegemonic structures."
The ASPA demanded that the fraternity "tell members of your organization to stop wearing our traditional/cultural attires, they don’t know jack s--- about its cultural significance."