At a fraternity party at UCLA this week students were seen wearing baggy clothes, padded bottoms, plump lips, and, incredibly, charcoal blackface.  The local chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon and the sorority Alpha Phi co-hosted the “Kanye Western”-themed party Tuesday night. The fraternity denies that there was blackface in the party and instead that attendees were coming as gold miners in reference to Ye’s song Gold Digger.


Read their full (weak) statement posted on Facebook below:

“On behalf of the UCLA chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon, we sincerely apologize for the offense and hurt we caused to our fellow Bruins, especially those in the African American community, by our social event with Alpha Phi Sorority on Tuesday night.

“A Kanye Western-themed party was intended to celebrate pop culture. We realize that the theme showed a lack of judgment on our part and that some of the guests’ costumes were offensive to members of the Bruin community. We want our campus community to know that they can expect better from this fraternity.

“In addition, we have been asked to respond specifically to rumors that some guests attended the event in blackface. It is important that we put this rumor to rest. Some of our guests attended the event dressed as miners in reference to the Kanye West song ‘Gold Digger,’ but their attire had nothing to do with race. This does not excuse our lack of judgment in not recognizing the inappropriateness of the party theme and that other costumes were offensive.

“We are grateful for the dialogue we have had so far, and we intend to continue communicating with our fellow Bruins about how SigEp and Alpha Phi can make this a learning opportunity for ourselves and others on campus. It is our hope to engage with the many student organizations expressing concern and use this moment to build a more inclusive and culturally sensitive community.

“We are deeply sorry that we did not live up to the values of our fraternity, of our campus community and the personal integrity of the men in our chapter. While we regret this embarrassing event took place, it will continue to be a lesson for our members in racial and cultural sensitivity, followed by an open, ongoing dialogue with our fellow students.”

Students at UCLA are currently protesting.