University of Michigan frat cancels Egyptian-themed party after complaints

ANN ARBOR, MICH. - A University of Michigan fraternity has cancelled an Egyptian-themed party after a complaint about it stereotyping was raised.

The Alpha Theta Chapter of Delta Sigma Phi posted a note late last week on its Facebook page cancelling the party, which was labelled as a "Nile"-themed party.

"It quickly came to our attention that the party theme was insensitive to various groups, especially those of Egyptian descent," the group wrote in a Facebook post. "Upon hearing that our party was seen as appropriating Egyptian  culture, the event was immediately cancelled.

"We completely accept all responsibility for this ordeal. We will begin an education effort to teach ourselves how our actions have an effect on people from a wide variety of backgrounds. This situation will sent as a very teachable moment for every Brother of our chapter by beginning a very important dialogue with those affected."

The national Delta Sigma Phi organization released a statement Monday saying it was supportive of the cancellation and working with U-M to schedule dialogue between the local frat and the Egyptian Student Association.

The party was originally scheduled for Sept. 1 as part of Welcome Week at the school.

U-M student and Egyptian Student Association president Yasmeen Afifi called attention to the problem of the party.

"As an Egyptian, and one that has respect for various cultures and civilizations, this party is extremely offensive and disrespectful. It is more saddening to see students from the top public university in the United States engaging in these ignorant stereotypes. My Egyptian roots are far more significant than a simple costume or a lame party. I take pride in the grandeur of my people’s legacy and will not allow my culture to be appropriated for your entertainment.

"You can’t justify your culture appropriation and Cleopatra costumes because you think ancient Egypt was a mythical civilization of the past. Egyptians still exist, we aren’t mythical creatures that vanished in fairy dust. We are still here- existing, thriving and evolving. Don’t fetishize our history and culture."

U-M student and national chairman of Young Americans for Freedom Grant Strobl was critical of the frats decision.

"I am disappointed in the fraternity for apologizing for doing nothing wrong. They caved to ridiculous claims. Egyptian Student Association President Yasmeen Afifi lost all credibility when she herself used racist sentiment to criticize the so-called intolerance of the party. In  her Facebook post she said: "couldn't expect more out of white fraternity." She also went on racist twitter rampage saying, “White umich back on their (expletive) and cultural appropriation can’t wait !!!

"I call on my fellow students to request Walk Like an Egyptian by the Bangles at every party the first week of school."

This isn't the only time a frat at U-M has cancelled a party after complaints that it was racially insensitive.

In 2013, the U-M chapter of Theta Xi cancelled their “Hood Ratchet Thursday” themed party. Various minority students complained about the party, which also helped spark #BBUM (Being Black at University of Michigan).

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© 2017 Detroit Free Press


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