A photograph of Penn State sorority members donning sombreros and ponchos at a Mexican fiesta-themed Halloween party made national headlines news last week.
In the picture, dozens of young women are seen wearing fake mustaches and sombreros with one woman holding a sign that reads: “Will mow lawn for weed + beer.”
Penn State officials chose not to pursue any disciplinary actions but the student body is planning it’s own action later this week.
“Unfortunately, the Chi Omega incident is just one of many instances of racial insensitivity that has beleaguered the Penn State community in recent years,” a Penn State student group called PSU For All Student Equality said in a news release.
The group said it is denouncing “all forms of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia and seeks to draw attention to social inequality, like those before us.”
Penn State junior Manuel Figueroa, the Penn State Puerto Rican Association student, is helping to organize the peaceful march and said the route will go from East Halls into the heart of campus with a stop at Old Main.
Figueroa said PSU For All Student Equality includes students from multicultural groups, advocacy groups and students concerned about diversity issues at the university, where Hispanic students make up 5 percent of the 45,351 undergraduate and graduate population.
Asian students make up another 5 percent, and black students are about 4 percent of the population. There are 5,540 international students at Penn State’s main campus.
A letter sent out last week by Penn State president Rodney Erickson didn’t specifically reference the photos or name the Chi Omega sorority but said it became clear in recent days that some students “celebrated Halloween in costumes that offended others” and acted contrary to university values.
Erickson said the school won’t pursue disciplinary action.
Chi Omega’s national governing council placed the Penn State chapter on probation effective last week.