Update: The Office of the Dean of Students has launched a formal investigation into Texas Fiji's Feb. 7 party. To learn more about the investigation, click here.
Texas Fiji hosted a party guests said had a “border patrol” theme Saturday night, where attendees wore construction gear, ponchos and sombreros.
Other guests wore army camouflage outfits.
According to Fiji fraternity president Andrew Campbell, the party was this year’s annual Fiji Marshals event, a “western-themed party which focuses on the traditional old west.” Multiple attendees said the party’s theme was communicated as “border patrol.” Among the several hundred attendees, many wore construction hard hats with the names “Jefe” and “Pablo Sanchez” written on them, as well as reflective vests and work gloves.
Decorations included painted photo cutout boards of people dressed in traditional Mexican attire. The bar was painted to resemble a Mexican flag, with the shape of Texas in the middle.
Campbell said fraternity members intended to make sure the party theme was not offensive.
“We notified our chapter prior to the party via email that the theme was Western — not south of the border or anything Mexican related,” Campbell said in an emailed statement. “It was our intention to monitor and enforce this policy to the best of our ability.”
Campbell said the chapter did not endorse insensitivity.
“If any individual or cultural groups were offended, Texas Fiji apologizes for any insensitivity that our guests or members may have portrayed,” Campbell said. “It is never Texas Fiji’s intent to alienate or demean any ethnic group.”
In fall 2012, the UT chapter of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity canceled its “a border to cross” event following online negative responses from students. In the 2013-2014 school year, the Campus Climate Response Team received four reports of race or ethnicity-themed parties, according to the CCRT report released Monday.