BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - Bowling Green State University has completed its investigation of nine Pi Kappa Alpha members who dressed up on Halloween as Mexican American gang members and posted photos on social media with the caption "your culture is my costume."
University leaders say while their actions were inappropriate and counter to BGSU’s Core Values on diversity and inclusion, the reported behavior is protected speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and our own policy on free speech and expression. Therefore, there was no violation of the student code of conduct.
School leaders say this type of speech and behavior has no place in our community, and they will always speak out against individuals and groups that espouse racism, intolerance, or hate. Because this speech is against the organization’s values as well as the institution’s, the University has worked with the fraternity’s local chapter and their advisors to implement the following sanctions:
• The fraternity members involved in this incident have been suspended from the fraternity for one year. They may petition the local chapter’s executive board, advisor, and regional director for reinstatement next year.
• The chapter will appoint a Diversity and Inclusion Chair. The fraternity member appointed to this role will meet with staff from the Office of the Dean of Students to learn about campus resources to educate active and future members on diversity and inclusion.
• The chapter will work with the Office of the Dean of Students to identify a speaker to come to campus next semester to talk about diversity and inclusion. All members of the fraternity will attend, and the presentation will be open to the campus community.
• The chapter will identify a community service project for spring 2019 that focuses on the Latino/a/x community.
In addition, the Office of the Dean of Students will meet with each of the students involved in the incident to discuss their choices and how they do not align with our values as a university.