Not since 'Seniores and Señoritas' day at Canyon High School in 2012 had there been Mexi mocking at a school sanctioned event in OC, but it happened again. Back in August, the sisters of Cal State Fullerton sorority Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi) held a Taco Tuesday recruitment party that went horribly wrong. As the Daily Titan reported earlier this week, the majority of Alphies dressed up as "Mexicans": sarapes, sombreros, and chola clothes, all things they'd never dare do down the street in Tokers Town!
"You can have a Taco Tuesday without being racist," says C@SA (Chicana Chicano Studies Alliance) Co-Chair Martha Contreras in the common-sense line of the century. "Just serve tacos."
"My initial reaction was one of shock," says Contreras. She's also a senior at Cal State Fullerton double majoring in Sociology and Chicano Studies. "I hear about these kind of events happening on campuses nationwide, but I didn't think making a culture a cartoon would happen here with the diversity of our students."
ADPi got hit with sanctions by the school's dean of students as part of an investigation into the Taco Tuesday tonterías. The sorority is under disciplinary probation until the end of 2015. More immediately, they are disallowed from having new recruits during this current fall semester. In the spring, recruitment will be allowed but curtailed. The sorority will also have to host cultural diversity workshops. Fun!
The disciplinary measures weren't enough for some students. A flyer circulated demanding that ADPi be permanently disbanded. A march with a banner reading "My Culture is Not Your Party Theme" also took place on campus this week.
"My main issue in terms of the incident hinges upon a couple of things," says Professor and Chicana/o Studies Chair Alexandro Gradilla. "If they wanted to honor Latinos then you hold a banquet, something dignified, where you have a prominent Latino/a leader speak and people learn. That's how you honor something."
Professor Gradilla wonders if the sanctions levied against the sorority don't represent a "turnstile culture" in disciplining Greek-letter organizations on campus.
"How are these fraternities and sororities not understanding their diversity training?" he asks. "If these organizations build leadership as they claim, where is that leadership?"
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2