University of Michigan Theta Xi’s decision to host a concert with Detroit native rapper Big Sean in October has drawn criticism from a number of students on campus, as well as the UM Black Student Union.
Students cited a prior incident of racial insensitivity from the fraternity in criticizing their decision to host Big Sean, one of the most widely popular Black artists. In 2013, Theta Xi planned a “Hood Ratchet” themed party, sparking campus-wide anger. The party, which planned to include a “twerking contest” and had various gang references in the Facebook description, prompted disciplinary measures against the fraternity and led both the fraternity and the University to issue an apology.
Many on campus argued the party and the language of the Facebook page parodied Black culture and misogynized women.
After the 2013 incident, the University suspended the fraternity from the IFC and gave them five sanctions, including designing an educational program on issues of race and attending bystander intervention workshops. The fraternity eventually cancelled the event and apologized, stating the party was not “the result of a chapter decision, vote or endorsement” despite being created with Theta Xi’s name.
The Big Sean event also is scheduled on the same date as Black Homecoming, a prominent party hosted by HEADS and Sister 2 Sister.
In a series of Twitter posts Monday afternoon, students criticized the concert and said the 2013 party was what prompted #BBUM, a Twitter hashtag later that year aimed at allowing Black students to share their campus experiences which went viral.
Music, Theatre & Dance junior Diego Zimmerman, speaker of the Black Student Union, tweeted, “Insult the Black community, bring one of the best performers to concert at the same time as their annual homecoming, more like #ThetaSigh.”
Zimmerman did not respond to a request for additional comment at the time of this article.
LSA senior Cam Dotson and vice president of finance of the Interfraternity Council tweeted that he thought “theta Xi is moving forward with building a positive culture and this event is brought forward in good faith.” Dotson did not wish to give a public statement to The Michigan Daily.