Circle of concern: gathering to proclaim "Race Is Not a Party" (Credit: Megan Morr)
Circle of concern: gathering to proclaim "Race Is Not a Party" (Credit: Megan Morr)

Agitation Over an Asian-Theme Event

Student protest puts focus on fraternity party.
February 13, 2013

About 200 people participated in an early-February protest sparked by a fraternity party that they said denigrated Asians. The protest sought to hold Kappa Sigma responsible for its “Asia Prime” party; the invitation to the party included stereotypical representations of Asian people and language.

The fraternity issued an apology, but at the protest, students asked that the apology be matched with actions, such as having members of the fraternity conduct a community social-justice project. Noting that the party was the latest in a line of social events targeting minority groups, often in offensive ways, the protesters 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, 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 issued a statement reaffirming its commitment to seeing its chapters adhere to “a high standard of excellence.” Pending further investigation, Kappa Sigma was suspended by its national organization.