California State University, Fullerton: Unconstitutional Investigation and Punishment of Sorority Over ‘Inappropriate’ Theme Party


California State University - Fullerton

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Case Overview


On August 19, 2014, the Alpha Delta Pi sorority at California State University, Fullerton, held a “Taco Tuesday” themed recruitment event, at which many of its members wore Mexican-themed clothing items and costumes. CSUF opened a disciplinary investigation of the sorority due to the perceived insensitivity of its members’ attire at the event. As part of a Voluntary Administrative Review process, CSUF declared ADPi guilty of disrupting university operations, “[d]isorderly, lewd, [indecent], or obscene behavior,” and “[c]onduct that threaten[s] or endangers the health or safety” of CSUF community members, among other violations. CSUF’s sanctions included requirements that ADPi “coordinate a mandatory workshop on cultural competencies and diversity” and the “development of a ‘we are a culture not a costume’ campaign.” FIRE wrote to CSUF on September 26, calling the conduct charges and sanctions against ADPi entirely without merit and unconstitutional, and demanded their complete and immediate dismissal. On October 17, CSUF responded to FIRE’s letter, stating that the university acted appropriately and that the situation was resolved “in a manner satisfactory to all those personally involved.”