As the Baltimore Sun reports today, on Saturday night the Sigma Chi fraternity at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) threw a “Halloween in the Hood” party. The party was shut down because the invitation the frat circulated “invoked racial stereotyping” and because “[a] decoration outside the party site was a plastic skeleton dressed in pirate garb hanging from a rope noose,” according to a statement issued yesterday by JHU. The statement explained,
The university is now conducting a full investigation into this matter. Based on the information received thus far, the university has suspended all activities of the Sigma Chi fraternity, pending the results of the investigation. The university has also alerted the fraternity’s national headquarters about this action. The national fraternity has imposed a 45-day suspension of the chapter’s activities and will conduct its own investigation.
The university will be investigating whether the Sigma Chi fraternity chapter or any of its members violated university policies and regulations proscribing:
- conduct or a pattern of conduct that harasses a person or a group;
- intimidation of any person which results in limiting her/his full access to all aspects of life at the university;
- and hosting an event in violation of university party registration policies.
The statement also contained a message from JHU President William Brody, who said, “I find this incident deeply disturbing, and I’m personally offended. It’s as simple as this: The adoption of racial stereotyping as a party theme is a repugnant act, and groups that want to consider themselves Johns Hopkins student organizations should understand that the university will not tolerate it.”
Last night JHU hosted a campus forum to discuss the incident, the result being that Sigma Chi is now under attack from all sides. The Sun article describes how JHU’s Black Student Union has been protesting the frat, waiving signs reading “Lynching is not a joke” and how Doc Cheatham, president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP, attended the meeting and stated “We’ve got to address the problem of racism on this campus. If the school is not willing to clear up this problem, then we will.”