Vanderbilt suspends Concert Choir after racist party theme

A screenshot of Vanderbilt University Concert Choir’s end of year party, themed “Thugs Thots Mugs n Shots” circulated campus Wednesday, sparking outrage

Sam Zern and Rachel Friedman

On Wednesday, a screenshot for a Vanderbilt Concert choir private party titled “Thugs Thots Mugs n Shots” circulated Vanderbilt, leading to widespread condemnation. Due to the racist nature of the party, the university suspended the organization, according to an email from the Provost Susan Wente and Vice Chancellor James Page. The incident is being investigated by the Title IX and Student Discrimination Office.

Screenshots of a racist themed VUCC event circulated Vanderbilt on Wednesday. The Hustler was sent these images from students in the groupchats in which they circulated.

“The university was made aware today of a planned campus event – a party to be hosted by a registered student organization – that had a theme and promotional materials that were racist, sexist and blatantly offensive and degrading to African Americans and to women,” the email said.

VUCC deleted the Facebook event page. The description of the event, which was scheduled for March 29, included language referencing mugshots, tattoos, and other explicit references, and the event image was a photograph of a black male.

VUCC has not responded to The Hustler’s request for comment.

The university email also included a list of resources that students affected by the incident could turn to, including the University Counseling Center, the Office of Inclusive Excellence, the Dean of Students, among others. The full text of the university’s email is included below:

Dear Vanderbilt community,

The university was made aware today of a planned campus event – a party to be hosted by a registered student organization – that had a theme and promotional materials that were racist, sexist and blatantly offensive and degrading to African Americans and to women.

This type of activity violates our expectations for respectful engagement by our registered student organizations, and is inconsistent with Vanderbilt’s values of fostering a campus community that is equitable, diverse, inclusive, safe and welcoming to all.

As such, Vanderbilt has suspended the organization as a registered student organization pending an investigation by the university’s Title IX and Student Discrimination Office.

We recognize that many on our campus and in our community are understandably upset by this incident, as are we. This type of behavior is reprehensible and we continue to actively investigate this matter.

We encourage you to seek help through the campus resources below should you need support.

Sincerely,

Susan R. Wente
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

James Page
Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer

 

*The Hustler will continue to update this story as we learn more. For individuals interested in sharing their reactions, please reach out to Rachel Friedman at rachel.f.friedman@vanderbilt.edu or Sam Zern at sam.zern@vanderbilt.edu.

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