The Vanderbilt Hustler

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.


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 or Sam Zern at

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About the Writers
Sam Zern, Editor in Chief

Sam Zern ('20) has been a member of The Vanderbilt Hustler since her freshman year, when she joined the team first as a staff writer before being hired...

Rachel Friedman, Campus Editor

Rachel Friedman is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Science studying history and mathematics. You can reach her at


3 Responses to “Vanderbilt suspends Concert Choir after racist party theme”

  1. Jane Doe on March 25th, 2019 8:50 am

    It’s a shame that I have to respond under an alias. But there is nothing racist about this party or theme. The mugshot is a popular one, Thugs and Thots come in all races. Would there be outrage if the mugshot was of a white person? I think outdated, disconnected administrators need to stop putting their raciest ideas on the students. The concert choir is not raciest and neither is this party theme.

  2. Joanna Doe (Jane's older cousin) on March 26th, 2019 10:54 am

    I have to agree with Jane Doe. There is nothing racist, sexist or any other ist about this party theme. Just another bending the simple facts session brought on by the PC police to squash free speech and the right to assemble. Have it off campus and a big middle finger salute to those who can’t have a sense of fun and humor.

  3. Bradley Brown on March 30th, 2019 12:00 pm

    Here’s the issue. Someone can try to redefine “thug” all they want for their own purposes, whether they think it’s a joke or not. Unfortunately, that has already happened with the word “thug.” It has been used as shorthand for black, male criminals for years by people who want to be racist without appearing racist. I’m sorry that this is inconvenient for the people who were organizing this party at a predominantly white, expensive private school. I am curious (legitimately) what the black members of the Concert Choir think. Even if they were part of the planning and felt the theme was “funny”, does a party like this “promote an open social environment for students from any background”, as the Concert Choir website quotes as part of its mission? Is it respectful in any way, shape, or form to make fun of people who have been arrested and their situations, or classify women in costume as whores?

    Also, are the above commenters members of the Choir? Is “raciest” a word?

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