Reports of a ghetto-themed party that took place off campus on Saturday night stimulated a conversation about racism that attracted the attention of national news outlets.

The party has spurred backlash on social media from students both for and against the party, along with discussions in classes and an emergency Fairfield University Student Association Senate meeting in preparation for a student forum that will provide a safe space for dialogue. Official responses from President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. and Student Body President Anif McDonald ’16 were emailed to students on Monday. In McDonald’s email, it was announced that the race dialogue open forum will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m.

McDonald urged students to engage in dialogue among their peers in order to overcome the racial issues facing the campus now.

“It is crucial that we all look up what White privilege is and how it functions explicitly and implicitly on this campus,” he wrote. “I also encourage you to engage in dialogue with your friends around this issue regardless of how uncomfortable it may be. I urge all of you who have something to say to actually speak up.”

This coming week, in response to the events of the weekend, von Arx informed students that the Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs will be open for extended hours and that “faculty and administrators are planning a dialogue which will be open to all members of the University community” in addition to the student forum scheduled for tomorrow.

Sonya Huber, associate professor of English, shared her feelings on recent events.

“I’m very upset by the events of this past weekend. The parties—along with many other events that students of color have experienced—reveal a disturbing degree of hostility and insensitivity, one that is all too common in the culture here but also extends well beyond our campus … This is the time for all students to ask themselves how they might challenge or interrupt racist incidents or comments. In this day and age, this is a principled person’s responsibility.”


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-- Junior | Co-News Editor -- English: Education

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