Clemson Students Respond to “Cripmas” Party

Twitter exploded on Saturday night, December 6th, when several Clemson students noticed a photo on Instagram of a group of Clemson students dressed as stereotypical gang members. The people in the photo were holding up hand signals that were apparently supposed to be gang signs. The party involved Clemson greek life students and was hosted by several Sigma Alpha Epsilon members. Members of several different sororities attended the event. Clemson University did not sanction the party, as stated by an email from President Jim Clements on Sunday morning. Clemson SAE has suspended all activities indefinitely.

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Late after the news broke, around 3am, Clemson student Wallace Mack planned the #MerryCripmas protest- the details are pictured in the flyer. The event was planned remarkably fast, and despite the lateness, students began responding on Twitter.

On Sunday morning, students gathered on library bridge. Some volunteer students passed out pieces of paper and holiday cards that students could write their thoughts on. As the crowd grew, other students arrived with Starbucks coffee and passed it out to chilly protestors.

IMG_6325 2The original intent of the event was for students to march to President Clements’ house. However, President Clements appeared in the crowd and began conversing with students. As the bells rang for 10am and the fountains of the reflection pond lifted off, Mack and other students discussed long-term and short-term goals. Mack gathered the crowd, President Clements beside him, and began his speech to open the event.

As I was transferring the video from my phone to my computer, my footage of the speech was corrupted. Thankfully, Professor Chenjerai Kumanyika was there livestreaming the event, so you can see Wallace Mack’s opening talk at the 8:07 mark. The girl with the glasses on the left side of the shot? That’s me. Sorry, folks.

Below you’ll find video of President Clements fielding questions from students. The discussion was full of intelligent and thoughtful questions, so I encourage you to watch Professor Kumanyika’s live stream for the full event. I did have to whittle down my video considerably for the sake of brevity.

The bottom line that stemmed from the discussion- President Clements and administrators are currently working out how to respond to the party and those involved. Clements promised action and that change would come to the campus.

The Twitter hashtag #ClemsonCripmas is being used to discuss the event.


14 thoughts on “Clemson Students Respond to “Cripmas” Party

  1. TerribleReporting December 7, 2014 — 2:51 am

    The fact you included “modern racism” in the subtitle is rediculous. You’re looking to stir things up not have a good article. Problem with the media in general. Quit being the problem and overly sensative and find something to actually write about.

    1. Hi TerribleReporting,

      The “Modern Racism” tag was specifically used for a post about a “Modern Racism Test”. WordPress suggests tags for my posts and I must have added that without realizing. I have since removed the tag.

      However, I do find that this is an important topic- social media is booming, and I find it my duty to write about Clemson topics that are prevalent in news and social media. I do appreciate your comments and encourage discussion between Clemson students and beyond.

  2. TerribleReporting December 7, 2014 — 3:00 am

    Don’t worry, shell delete the comment if it’s not going with what she wants

    1. Hi TerribleReporting,

      You’ll see my response to your other comment. I choose to approve comments because I wouldn’t want an explicit or inappropriate comment on my blog without my consideration. Once again, thank you for commenting.

  3. This is an outrage. I have a daughter who attends a high ranked school…. So I know the feeling. I believe theses acts are targeted towards black students… If they did any research they would know that these two gangs are made up of mostly latino members…. And if they didn’t have a Tpac shirt on or the comment Tpac is back wasn’t used I would have tho. Diff. They had to know by even doing this they may have put themselves and there school in danger…. The school has to step up.

  4. This party “theme” has been used in the past. You cannot prove it is in response to protests this week. It is not fair of you to say that mocking a black gang is an outrage; yet, it is not an outrage when they mock other types of people (other themes have included “white trash” “rednecks” “cowboys and Indians” “nerds” “mafia” “jersey shore”). If you are going to get mad at students -both greek and non-greek students throw themed parties- then you ought to be upset about ALL the themes that mock others.
    How can you say that stereotyping and mocking one culture or type of person is wrong but but it is okay to treat others this way? Its is ALWAYS wrong for privileged students to mock and degrade other students, socioeconomic classes, and cultures.

    I’m glad people are outraged at the ignorance; however, this is not a new problem.

    1. Hi clemsonstudent,

      Thanks for your comment, although the details of your comment suggests that you’re responding to something else rather than my article.

  5. Ellen,

    When did our generation become the most sensitive generation? This was a party that had NOTHING to do with race, but of course everyone has to get up in arms about it because of racism in other parts of the country.

    Just fantastic that I’m going to get to spend my last year hearing people bitch and moan about something that is just downright stupid. This video just infuriates me. The combative way that those Black students question the President, prodding him over and over with: “WE NEED HELP, THIS IS YOUR FAULT. FIX IT.” … uh, it just shows how fucking whiny this generation is becoming.

    I’m not saying racism doesn’t exist, I’m sure it does, even in this community. It certainly is NOT an issue here, but it seems like people WANT it to be one.

    Sorry for the rant.

  6. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong here, but “Crips” are gangmembers, right? (Usually denoted by black or blue in their colors, as opposed to “bloods” who wear red as their colors.) My question is this: How many “crips” or “bloods” or other “gangsters” showed up on the bridge for that protest? Were they, in fact, offended by this thematic college party? Where were they, if so? Let’s hear from THEM, the true… uhhh… “victims” of this racial stereotyping. (Goodness forbid that anyone hurt the feelings of a gangster.) An earlier post from ANGRYPARENT said, “If they did any research they would know that these two gangs are made up of mostly latino members….” Hmmm… maybe those fratboys & sorority sisters knew that… maybe they didn’t… what they surely did not know was that not everyone can sport a Tupac T-shirt… at least not Latino gangsters. Regardless, where was that demographic (Latino gangster) that this supposed “racial discrimination” was directed toward? If the “crips” are mad at being mocked, then apologize to the “crips” & move on. This is NOT RACISM. It’s simply a mindless friggin themed college party… nothing more. This is nothing more than an extreme over-reaction from a bunch of wanna-be revolutionists that choose to hop on a reckless bandwagon of false propaganda. This is a molehill; don’t try to make it a mountain.

  7. Hope the group hug was useful. In other Ellen Meny news, someone in Central kicked an animal. Based on this, it’s clear that Clemson University hates animals.

    1. Hi there! Thanks for your comment. One correction, though- the abbreviation of Political Science is poli sci. Thanks again for your comment.

  8. Rosiewouldbeproud December 11, 2014 — 2:56 pm

    Touche`… but if we are gonna nitpick… Political, Poly or Poli … It’s very questionable that it’s even a science.

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