AUSTIN, Texas – Clutching placards that read "respect my culture" and "our lives are not a joke," hundreds of students marched through the campus of the University of Texas Austin to rally against how Hispanics were portrayed at a weekend fraternity party.
One of the rally's organizers told the San Antonio Express-News the Thursday event wasn't meant to attack the fraternity, but to educate about why the party was wrong. They said about 300 people showed up for the rally.
The school is investigating Phi Gamma Delta, which is frequently referred to as "Fiji," after the university's newspaper reported partygoers wore sombreros, ponchos, construction worker outfits and military gear.
“It is clear they tried to stop the issue from happening,” Mauricio Garcia, one of the organizers of the march, which was put together by UT’s Latino Community Affairs, told the newspaper. “It’s my understanding that the president sent out an email saying that (Fiji doesn’t) support this. The problem is that people came here and they weren’t kicked out, so that means in some way that they condone this behavior.”
UT spokesman Gary Susswein told Fox News Latino earlier this week that the university was investigating the matter.
The fraternity's president, Andrew Campbell, has apologized for "any offensive behavior or attire." He said the party was intended to have a western theme.
"We notified our chapter prior to the party via email that the theme was western — not south of the border or anything Mexican related," Campbell said in a statement on Monday. "If any individual or cultural groups were offended, Texas Fiji apologizes for any insensitivity that our guests or members may have portrayed. It is never Texas Fiji's intent to alienate or demean any ethnic group."
The Saturday party took place at the fraternity's house on the north end of campus.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.
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