Students pack Fairfield University forum on racial issues after controversial weekend party
FAIRFIELD — Fairfield University continues to do damage control in the wake of a so-called “ghetto”-themed off-campus weekend party. On Wednesday night, a forum was held for students to gather and discuss racial issues on campus, and hundreds of students attended.
The university is calling the party “culturally insensitive,” while others say it is racist, demeaning and disgraceful and they hope it spurs a change on campus.
The dean of students is investigating the party, which saw some students wearing wife beaters, while others had their hair braided, and one even pretended to be pregnant. Although a few students took to social media to defend the party, most were upset about what happened.
“The fact that there was a party that was completely racist, it’s disgusting,” said Iman Jebara, who is a junior at Fairfield University. “I don’t want to associate that as part of our campus.”
Fairfield University Vice President of Student Affairs Tom Pellegrino says the party was not a representation of the student body as a whole and goes against the school’s key Jesuit values.
“I was disturbed and disappointed,” said Pellegrino. “You have students engaging in behavior that is insensitive and harmful to others in the community, so it is antithetical to what we say we stand for as a Jesuit school.”
Fairfield University President Rev. Jeffery von Arx said he is committed to continuing a dialogue to build inclusion in the community regardless of anyone’s background or beliefs.
As for the 45 to 50 students who attended the party, university officials are in the process of determining whether any will face discipline. According to school spokeswoman Teddy DeRosa, there is no criminal aspect of the investigation and police are not involved.