The national office of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority has released an apology in response to criticism from the UT community over a “fiesta” themed party thrown by their UT chapter Thursday night. The UT chapter of the Delta Delta Delta sorority co-hosted the party, but has not released a comment at this time. The apology was given to The Daily Texan by the chapter’s president.
The apology reads: “Kappa Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha apologizes for offending members of the UT and Austin communities with a fiesta-themed event held Thursday, Sept. 20. We understand now what seemed to be an appropriate, celebratory theme could be perceived as mocking and insensitive. In our 160 ZTA chapters across the country, we embrace members of multiple races and ethnicities and every member learns that our standards include respect for all mankind. We regret that this event did not show that respect. As chapter leaders, we will work with our advisors and members to provide cultural sensitivity education and ensure that our members and guests represent our Fraternity’s values at all future chapter functions.”
Thursday night's party was filled with guests wearing attire associated with Hispanic stereotypes, including ponchos, sombreros and fake mustaches. Two guests wore shirts that read “illegal” and “border patrol.”
The party was held at Recess Arcade Bar, located at the corner of East Sixth Street and San Jacinto Street. The sororities reserved the bar until 12:30 a.m. After that time, some party guests ventured into downtown still wearing their “fiesta-themed” apparel. Since the night of the party, word of the event spread to members of the UT community, who have expressed various concerns about the party’s intent and message.
The Daily Texan printed an article about the party Monday. Despite requests for comment received by Zeta Tau Alpha’s president, vice-president and national chapter, no response had been issued in time for Monday’s article. Efforts to contact Delta Delta Delta’s national office, president, vice-president and more than 20 other members of the sorority have been made, but no request for comment has been returned.