Student Protest Puts Focus on Fraternity Party

Protesters say Asian-theme event offensive, call for fraternity accountability

Ting-Ting Zhou, a Duke student, speaks during Race Is Not a Party rally Wednesday. Photo by Megan Morr/Duke University Photography

About 200 people participated Wednesday in a protest sparked by a Duke fraternity party that they said denigrated Asians.

The protest sought to hold Kappa Sigma fraternity responsible for its "Asia Prime" party that was held Friday.  The invitation to the party included stereotypical representations of Asian people and language.

The fraternity has issued an apology, but at Wednesday's protest students asked that the apology be matched with actions.  Protest leaders said the fraternity should conduct a community social justice project in which each member would have to volunteer at least 10 hours.

Noting that the party was the latest in a line of social events targeting minority groups, often in offensive ways, the protesters also demanded that the university create a student task force that could respond to discriminatory or offensive actions by student groups.

In response to the party, Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs at Duke, said, "This is a disappointing reminder that, despite our considerable efforts to educate students about cultural sensitivities, we have much work yet to be done. We are resolved to use these events as learning opportunities."

Duke's Interfraternity Council, the association of Duke Greek organizations, also issued a statement condemning offensive actions taken by its members.

"We hold our chapters to a high standard of excellence, and are working to make sure that this high standard is held by all chapters. The Brothers of Kappa Sigma understand the unfortunate negative impact their event has had on the Duke Community," the letter said.

Below: Protesters formed a large circle at the West Campus bus stop to hear speakers.  Photo by Megan Morr/Duke University Photography

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