The national office of Phi Mu sorority has put six white University of Southern Mississippi students on probation after a photograph surfaced on Facebook showing them in blackface at an off-campus costume party.
The sorority sisters put on the makeup and donned curly-haired wigs to attend the 1980s-themed party as the Huxtable family from the sitcom ‘The Cosby Show,’ the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American reported.
“I am deeply disappointed by the actions of these members in their choice of costume for the social event,” Phi Mu National President Kris Bridges said in a statement, the Sun Herald reported. Bridges added that their conduct “in no way reflects the values and standards” of Phi Mu, the nation’s second-oldest sorority.
Bridges told The Associated Press that the Phi Mu will fully investigate the incident and that the local chapter of Phi Mu will sponsor a diversity appreciation program on campus. The university will not discipline the students because the incident did not occur on campus and they aren’t charged with a crime, the Sun Herald reported.
Phi Mu’s executive officers and the six students involved met on Sunday with African American students on campus, Vice President for Student Affairs Joe Paul told the Hattiesburg American.
"We thought it important to begin an open dialogue immediately, and all those involved were not only cooperative but open, honest and candid," he said.
“We will use this as a teachable moment and motivation for dialogue on appropriate sensitivity and respect around issues of diversity,” Dean of Students Eddie Holloway told the Sun Herald.
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