Fraternity-sorority event with theme of Native Americans gets complaints
By Julia Hickey
Men attending the party—identified in an email as having a “Colonial Bros and Nava-Hos” theme—wore Colonial-era costumes, while women wore sexually explicit Native American-themed attire.
The party took place this past Friday in the area of Foothill Boulevard, with approximately 60 people attending.
Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong denounced the party in a campuswide email sent Tuesday and announced a university-sponsored forum to be held Friday to allow Cal Poly community members to come together and discuss the impact of the party.
“Let us be clear, events like these have no place in the Cal Poly community and are not reflective of the principles of The Mustang Way,” Armstrong said in his email. “Obviously, this was not a university-sponsored event.”
“It’s unfair,” he said. “We are taught that Thanksgiving is Pilgrims and Indians.”
A second-year sorority member, who also declined to be named, was invited to the party but did not attend.
“There are a lot more offensive themes out there, especially during Halloween,” she said.
By Sean McMinn
“It’s very serious,” Humphrey said in an interview after sending the campuswide email. “I think its effects on our community are things we can’t even fully put our arms around, and that’s what makes it very disturbing. And we don’t know who something like this will offend, and they’ll choose to never come to Cal Poly, choose to not send their children to Cal Poly.”
Fraternities and sororities will be required to register all parties with the university beginning next quarter as part of an agreement earlier this year to loosen recruitment restrictions in exchange for tighter oversight of greek functions.
Humphrey said there is no pressure to speed up that process after this past weekend’s incident, but added that a party registration system could have prevented it from happening.
Cal Poly will hold a forum Friday to discuss racism and sexism. Lazier, Cal Poly’s spokesperson, said it will address the party under investigation, as well as broader cultural issues on campus.
Let's count the ways the Cal Poly frat party theme was wrong
By Joe Tarica
Let’s start with the whole “bros and hos” thing, which has become a common fraternity/sorority mashup for guys-and-girls parties.
For the dim bulbs who organize these get-togethers, the rhyme-y phrase is obviously a convenient starting point. Jot down “bros and hos,” attach a theme, and voilà … let the beer pong commence.
Apparently referring to the women partygoers as prostitutes doesn’t bother anyone. I’m sure all would say it’s just a joke, and everyone is being too politically correct. The fact that fraternities host shindigs like this, which are then enthusiastically attended by sororities, speaks poorly of both sides.
Next up in the party planning was picking a theme, which in keeping with the month and season, seized on a Colonial America idea. Except don’t you like how the sexes were divided?
Of course it wasn’t “Colonial Hos and Indian Bros,” because who wants to see sorority girls dressed up like victims from the Salem Witch Trials? Women in bonnets and head-to-toe frocks isn’t sexy, especially when the other option is loincloths. So now we’ve got frat boy “bros” decked out as pilgrims and tarted up sorority girl “hos.”
But that’s still not enough, because the party name has to be catchy, not historically accurate to the New England locale. I guess when the organizers were going through tribe names, “Colonial Bros and Wampanoag Hos” didn’t have the right ring to it.
No worries, there’s a better option, and the name just rolls right off the tongue, leaving plenty of room in their mouths for the appropriate insertion of feet.
Who cares that these Native Americans are from the Four Corners region of the Southwest, most assuredly never shared turkey and sweet potatoes with the settlers from the Plymouth Colony, and were in fact subjected to terrible abuse at the hands of American soldiers (including the rape of Navajo women)?
Put it all together and there you have it: A fraternity brainchild that’s sexually demeaning, culturally offensive and historically ignorant—all for the convenience of a good time.
For more on the subject, see Drink's "Sexy Pilgrim & Indian Party" and Duke's "Pilgrims and Indians" Party.
Below: An image from the Drink nightclub's "Sexy Pilgrim & Indian Party."