Several Clemson University students — no official university student group or fraternity or sorority — have come under fire for their participation in a recent party held over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend with a “gangsta” theme.
Clemson University school officials only recently became aware of the controversial MLK Day Party this past weekend, stating that they’ve met with students who were offended by the images that were posted on Facebook.com, a social networking site.
Today more news organizations and blogs are picking up on images from the MLK Day Party attended by select students who are displayed holding forty ounce bottles of malt liquor that have been taped to their hands.
Other attendees of the now-infamous “Clemson MLK Day Party” are shown sporting sports gear, with one female who reportedly stuffed her backside with tissue to emulate the ample backsides of African-American women.
Students are also shown sporting “gold grills,” a type of jewelry for the teeth.
These images have angered some of the roughly 1,100 black students that attend Clemson University. According to Clemson’s website, approximately 17,000 undergraduates populate the entire school.
Clemson University president James Barker, in a letter to Clemson students and staff, noted that he “was appalled, angered and disappointed when I learned that a group of Clemson students participated in activities at an off-campus party that appeared to mock and disparage African Americans.”
Barker added Tuesday that Clemson was investigating this so-dubbed Clemson MLK Day Party, of which he wrote, “Many people have been offended and deeply hurt.”
“This is very appalling,” said Jay Blakenship, president of the Kappa Gamma Gamma chapter of Omega Psi Phi. “It should be appalling to everybody really.”
Clemson University spokeswoman Robin Denny said that the students responsible for the MLK Day Party did not intended to offend anyone and that they didn’t realize it would. Denny reports that the party participants want to reach out to those who were offended by the photos and the event itself.
“I understand that many of the students involved in the party have come forward to apologize and reach out to those they have offended, and that is important and necessary. But more needs to be done,” Barker said.
As a result of the racially-charged event, Clemson University officials continue to meet with students and a local fraternity has put together a meeting to discuss race relations.
“This is very appalling,” said Jay Blakenship, president of the Kappa Gamma Gamma chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, a black-focused fraternity and the group organizing the Anderson meeting. “It should be appalling to everybody really.”