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American U. fraternity party invitation blasted for ‘cultural insensitivity’

A fraternity at American University expelled one of its members for a party invitation he created which offended members of the Iranian student community.

The Sigma Alpha Mu event, called “Draft Dodgers Darty!” noted it was to take place in “Tehran, Iran.” A “darty” is supposed to be slang for “day party.” The invite was posted last month, a time of heightened tension between the US and Iran following the killing of terror mastermind Qasem Soleimani.

According to The Eagle, the Iranian Student Association took issue with the event’s title and description on Facebook.

The ISA’s Mona Ghalbi said “I really didn’t think they would be making a theme that would be so disrespectful. I thought they’d be a little more educated.” In response, fraternity chapter president Leopold Harris apologized to the ISA and expelled the member who created the flyer.

Ghalbi was “especially offended” at the invitation’s phrase “pack up [their] bone spurs and other excuses.”

“They were saying, ‘We’re not going to get drafted because we’re going to lie our way out of it,’” Ghalbi said. “‘We’re so privileged and lucky to do so, we’re being educated and we’ll have jobs so we don’t have to serve.’”

Call me silly, but the first thing that came to my mind upon seeing “bone spurs” is how Donald Trump avoided military service. That, along with the reference to Iran (how Trump possibly wanted conflict with the country), appears to be poking fun at the president, not the Iranian/Iranian-American community.

The Fix asked Sigma Alpha Mu about just this via its Facebook page, but did not get a reply before publication.

From the story:

The ISA’s E-board decided to contact University officials and publish a Facebook post to acknowledge they knew of the event and that it was culturally offensive. On Jan. 18, ISA President Omeed Ansari emailed Vice President of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence Fanta Aw and Primary Advisor for Interfraternity Council Travis Roberts to call attention to the event.  …

In an emailed response on Jan. 23, Roberts told the ISA that the University could facilitate a restorative justice circle, which would be a mediated conversation between the two organizations with a University official present. The ISA’s E-board members rejected Roberts’ offer and decided to speak with the fraternity directly through Harris.

“When the school gets involved, they protect Greek life and they don’t want to reprimand them,” said Lily Pourahmad, social media and outreach coordinator for the ISA, who is also a member of Alpha Chi Omega. “These boys and the AU community as a whole need to know that you can’t make these insensitive jokes and receive no backlash.”

The ISA Facebook post noted the organization was “deeply saddened” by the invitation because it “ridicule[d] a situation that directly impacts our families and friends.”

ISA President Omeed Ansari said a “bigger problem” than the invite itself was people actually considering attending the party.

“Think before you say you’re going to [this event] if you say that you care about social justice,” he said. “If you want to be on your woke AU shit and say you stand up for everybody, don’t respond ‘yes’ to this party.”

Read the article.

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IMAGES: YouTube, The Eagle screenshot

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About the Author
Assistant Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 15 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.

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