Penn State Sorority in Hot Water Over Mexican-Themed Party

You never know when a party has gone too far until it’s too late.

Such is the case for members of a Penn State University sorority, who are under fire over images of their Mexican-themed party. But it wasn’t just any Mexican-themed party. The photo that surfaced Monday features over 20 members of the Chi Omega’s Nu Gamma Chapter dressed in sombreros, fake mustaches, and two signs that read: “Will mow lawn for weed & beer” and “I don’t cut grass. I smoke it.”

According to student-run blog Onward State, the image of the sorority girls was posted on Facebook late last week, with the individual members tagged in it as well. The website reports that possible punishment was rumored, but the university’s Panhellenic Council would not confirm it.

Jessica Riccardi, the sorority chapter’s president, released a statement to The Daily Collegian on Monday afternoon, which read: “Our chapter of Chi Omega sincerely apologizes for portraying inappropriate and untrue stereotypes. The picture in question does not support any of Chi Omega’s values or reflect what the organization aspires to be.” The Panhellenic Council executive board also later released a statement to the same website, in which they recognized “the offensive nature of the photo and is therefore taking the matter very seriously.”

It’s definitely not the first time parties have been deemed inappropriate. According to NBC Latino, pictures of a party held by students from Texas’ Baylor University surfaced last week; in it, the college kids donned sombreros, moustaches and displayed “Green Card” signs. The images permeated Facebook and Instagram.

Cesar Sanchez Lopez, who serves as the Vice President of the Mexican American Student Association at Penn State, reacted to the Chi Omega images in a statement. He said his organization is “disappointed in the attire chosen by this sorority” and added that it, in no way, represents the Mexican culture.

“Not only have they chosen to stereotype our culture with serapes and sombreros, but the insinuation about drug usage makes this image more offensive,” Sanchez Lopez’s statement went on to state. “Our country is plagued by a drug war that has led to the death of an estimated 50,000 people, which is nothing to be joked about.”

What are your thoughts on the photo? Do you think the sorority chapter should be punished or this was a harmless joke gone horribly wrong?