Public university disciplines fraternity for having blackface in
volokh at mail.law.ucla.edu
Mon Nov 5 15:08:39 PST 2001
Seems pretty clearly unconstitutional, cf. the Iota Xi case from the 4th
Circuit about 8 or 9 years ago -- or am I mistaken?
Original URL: http://www.jsonline.com/news/state/nov01/uw02110101a.asp
Skit prompts UW-Whitewater to impose sanctions on fraternity
Member appeared in blackface during campus variety show
By SHARIF DURHAMS
of the Journal Sentinel staff
Last Updated: Nov. 1, 2001
A University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus variety show at which a
fraternity member appeared in blackface prompted a protest by about 50
The university placed sanctions on the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity
Wednesday and is investigating other punishments, which could include
expelling the 70-student chapter from campus. . . .
The fraternity and other student groups organized skits based on television
commercials as part of the university's Oct. 11 pre-homecoming variety show.
Five fraternity members designed a skit based on old Nike commercials,
Wallace said. When they presented the skit during a rehearsal Oct. 10, the
night before the show, no one appeared in blackface.
However, on the night of the show, a fraternity member, who is white, wore
brown face paint while portraying former NBA star Charles Barkley's
appearance in a TV ad making his famous "I am not a role model" remarks.
"It was a three-second part," said Wallace, who noted he knew nothing about
what the five fraternity members who organized the skit had planned before
he saw it as a member of the audience.
While many audience members did not see the incident, some students booed
the fraternity member's appearance, and members of the school's Black
Student Union organized a forum to talk about it.
In the wake of the incident, the fraternity has been banned from
participating in future campus variety shows unless they apologize to the
Black Student Union and the campus. The fraternity must also participate in
diversity programs sponsored by the university and must organize its own
diversity program for the campus.
The dean of students office is conducting its own investigation, which could
result in probation, suspension or expulsion of the fraternity as a campus
organization, said Ron Buchholz, the university's director of leadership
development. . . .
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