BLOG: University event sparks controversy

Students and faculty at the University of California at San Diego continue to feel the aftermath of a week-old, off-campus party dubbed the “Compton Cookout.”

Members of Pi Kappa Alpha, a fraternity at the university, allegedly hosted the event and urged male attendees to “wear chains, don cheap clothes and speak loudly,” as reported by NBC San Diego. Other members of the fraternity encouraged female participants to “purchase gold teeth, start fights and wear purple weaves.” The Facebook invitation, complete with references to fried chicken and watermelon, said Black History Month inspired the event. Students at UCSD’s student-run television station defended the off-campus party.

Meanwhile, the university seemed to separate itself from all media attention, reminding everyone it did not authorize the event. But as NBC San Diego reported, Campus Chancellor Marye Anne Fox called the event offensive in an e-mail to 29,000 students and 26,000 staff members. The Black Student Union agreed.

At a packed forum Friday, the union requested “mandatory diversity sensitivity classes and increased African American enrollment in students.” Los Angeles Times also reported only about 2 percent of UCSD undergraduates are African American.

What do you think?

Who will this party affect the most in the long run – the students who organized the event or the people who took offense to the racial epithets? Would the “Compton Cookout” be any less offensive or racist if an African American man or woman planned the event? Can the students at the university argue free speech? Or will the event fall into the category of fraternity boys behaving like other fraternity boys?