Sororities, fraternities send out apologies


Three UT Greek organizations have issued apologies after controversy over their ethnic-themed parties spread during the last few days.

UT’s Zeta Tau Alpha and Delta Delta Delta sororities and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity apologized for any offense they may have caused the UT community in three separate statements. All three organizations say they had no negative intentions with their theme parties.

Although ethnic-themed parties are nothing new in the UT community, tensions were heightened after a “fiesta-themed” party, hosted by the UT chapters of Zeta Tau Alpha and Delta Delta Delta, made headlines Friday in Burnt Orange Report and Monday in The Daily Texan.

The 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.”

Word then began to spread via Facebook that the UT chapter of Alpha Tau Omega was planning an “Alpha Tau Omega Present Fiestau” party for Saturday. According to the original Facebook event for the party, “Fiestau” was going to feature ”a border to cross” event, a major concern for the party’s critics.

In a Tuesday phone interview with The Daily Texan, Nick Davis, petroleum engineering sophomore and co-organizer of the event’s Facebook page, said the event was still in the planning stages, but the fraternity had a good idea of how it was going to look.

Davis said the party would have a “Mexican side” and a “Texas side” and guests would have to cross a man-made river to get from one side to the other. This plan further fueled existing concerns of bias.

Veronica Rivera, political communication studies sophomore, said after hearing about planned “Fiestau” event, she had seen enough.

Rivera started a petition Tuesday urging members of the UT community to “encourage the organizations to end the negative and hurtful portrayal of communities of color on campus.” The petition received 521 signatures by Wednesday evening, she said.

Rivera said she sees the apologies as a small step in a much larger battle against bias at the University, and she will be delivering the petition to campus administrators along with a plan for increased cultural sensitivity training for all campus organizations.

In a Tuesday phone interview with The Daily Texan, Ryan Miller, lead team member for the Campus Climate Response Team, an organization that investigates incidents of bias at UT, said his office has received 15 reports of racially biased theme parties at UT so far this semester. 


Official Apologies:
Zeta Tau Alpha
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.
Delta Delta Delta
Theta Zeta Chapter of Delta Delta Delta sincerely apologizes for offending members of the UT and Austin communities with the fiesta-themed event held on Thursday, September 20. Tri Delta does not condone cultural insensitivity or racism. Tri Delta was founded on the idea of being “kind alike to all,” and we use this principle to guide us as we strive to adhere to high moral standards and strength of character. Chapter officers and advisors are working together to insure that our standards are upheld in the future and that chapter members understand they are responsible for the conduct of their guests.
Alpha Tau Omega
Out of respect for our fellow classmates and the creed, which Alpha Tau Omega has pledged to adhere to, the Gamma Eta chapter has canceled any and all events related to a “fiesta” theme. We understand that the prospect of organizing such an event has sparked debate on campus and, as a result, has led to a misunderstanding concerning the organization’s intentions. Alpha Tau Omega does not condone racial discrimination of any kind, as it is counter to building the brotherhood, which binds our members together. We realize the sensitivity of this issue and sincerely apologize to anyone in the UT and Austin community that has taken offense.