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University investigates student who wore ‘undocumented’ alien costume with sombrero

Student who wore costume may be of Hispanic descent, as his public apology said he wore costume ironically

The Division of Student Affairs at Marquette University in Wisconsin has launched an investigation into a student who wore a costume some found offensive. The probe began after a student posted to his Snapchat account a picture of his peer wearing the costume.

“The student, a white male in the College of Engineering, posted the picture Friday night of someone dressed in a green alien suit with a sombrero, a traditional Mexican men’s hat,” the Marquette Wire reported April 18. “The person also wore a nametag with the word ‘undocumented’ written on it.”

Although it is not explicitly stated, the unnamed student who wore the costume may be of Hispanic descent, as his public apology on the matter said he wore the costume ironically.

“I would like to apologize to everyone that has been affected by my wearing of the offensive costume,” the student said in his statement, as reported by the Wire. “Particularly, I would like to apologize to the entire Hispanic community.”

“At the time, I thought wearing that would be an ironic joke regarding my personal history and country of origin.”

The student dressed in the costume and the student who took the photo are both seniors at Marquette, the Wire reported; the student dressed in the alien costume, whose name was not disclosed, is also a member of the Sigma Phi Delta fraternity.

“As a Catholic, Jesuit institution, we are called to build a nurturing, inclusive community where all people feel safe, supported, welcomed and celebrated,” Director of University Communication Monica MacKay said in a statement to the campus community April 17. “Racism and discrimination have no place on our campus. I want you to know that Marquette University has taken swift action to address this matter.”

This is not the first time a sombrero costume has sparked ire on a college campus.

In 2016, there was an uproar at Cornell University after two football players both wore a sombrero, with a coach apologizing to offended students.

That same year, the Phi Delta Theta fraternity at Case Western Reserve University was investigated by its national office and the campus office of student affairs after some frat brothers wore sombreros in a skit that also referenced Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

In 2015, the president of the University of Louisville apologized for wearing a sombrero and a multi-colored poncho in a picture he took with his wife and other university staffers wearing similar garb, including fake mustaches, at a Halloween luncheon.

Using terms like illegal alien is also deemed offensive on campus.

In December 2022, North Carolina State University’s “Voice of the Wolkpack” broadcaster was suspended after using the term “illegal aliens” while announcing a football game.

In 2018, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee in Emporia State University’s student government pledged to impeach a student official for refusing to resign after using the phrase “illegal aliens” on Facebook.

MORE: University president apologizes for wearing sombrero

IMAGE: Shutterstock/Creative Studio

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