A white Clemson University fraternity has been suspended after it hosted a gangster-themed “Cripmas” holiday party over the weekend. With dozens of images of the Cripmas event floating around social media, the reaction from both faculty and the student body has been swift.
Officials from Clemson University, which is in northeastern South Carolina, said that the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity which hosted the Cripmas party has no Black members. The Crips are a mostly Black gang founded in Los Angeles in the 1960s as reported by Reuters. According to the photos obtained from the party, attendees mocked gang culture by wearing bandanas, over-sized t-shirts, and outfits fashioned to look like gang members.
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“To hear at 3 a.m. that there was a “cripmas” party that depicts gang stereotypes and stuff is just really disappointing,” said Clemson student James Tillman.
The Crips originated in California, but now have a nationwide presence.
“For the most part, I was just appalled at the sheer ignorance that someone could have about the situation,” said Clemson student Sean Horgan.
University officials tell 7 On Your Side the event was not sanctioned by the college and was held off-campus.
The viral images from the party spurred a group of students to organize an impromptu protest in an effort to raise awareness of race tensions on campus.
“It is not just one event, It is the fact that the culture of Clemson needs to be examined,” said protest organizer Riley Fontenot.
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon released a media statement on its website this past Sunday blasting the Clemson chapter’s decision to host the Cripmas party while handing down a suspension in activity.
Clemson University president Jim Clements sat down with student leaders and activists about the event, and wrote an email promising collaboration and change that will address some of the racial insensitivity others claimed to have experienced.