Safety Officers Shut Down Princeton Cinco de Mayo Party After Cultural Appropriation Concerns

ashley.rae | May 12, 2017
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The Princeton University Department of Public Safety was called to shut down a party on Cinco de Mayo amidst concerns on campus about cultural appropriation.

The Daily Princetonian reports that the Department of Public Safety officers shut down a Cinco de Mayo event allegedly hosted by the men’s hockey team on Thursday evening. The party was shut down after the school cautioned students against wearing sombreros on Cinco de Mayo.

A flier distributed by the school’s Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding, which is reportedly dedicated to fostering “inclusion” throughout the school, instructs students to celebrate Cinco de Mayo “responsibly.”

Some of the allegedly responsible ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo include “no serapes. No fake mustaches. Avoid every party store. No ‘Cinco de Drinko.’ No disrespectful use of Spanish. No homogenizing Latinx communities. Oh, and hold your friends accountable when they do any (or all) of these.”

Instead, the guide suggests people “donate to organizations working for immigrant rights.”

The Director of Student Life for Whitman College, Momo Wolapaye, sent an email to students telling them to be aware of the “harmful themes” in Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

The email allegedly read, “Be mindful of harmful themes [of social events and parties] and participating in actions that may objectify and denigrate the cultural and social identities of others.”

Other colleges at Princeton allegedly received similar letters from their residential communities.

According to The Daily Princetonian, the approximately 50 students who attended the hockey team's Cinco de Mayo party did not follow the Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding’s instructions, nor the guidance given by the Whitman Director of Student Life, seen wearing sombreros and ponchos.

Samuel Vilchez Santiago, the president of Princeton Latinos y Amigos, said, “With Cinco de Mayo parties, they make Mexican culture seem like it’s just about tequila and sombreros and piñatas, but it’s about other things.”

Arlene Gamio, the president of the Princeton University Latinx Perspectives Organization, said “they” were “so pissed” over the event and that the Latino organization has allegedly been “mobilizing” against “parties like this one.”

“I’m pissed, I’m so pissed, because it happens every Frosh week, every Cinco de Mayo, every Halloween,” Gamio claimed. “And it’s almost always a sports team,” Gamio added.

“It’s just random groups of white people throwing all these parties and saying it’s not racist and not owning up to it,” Gamio continued.

“[These students] want to be Latino for one night, but they don’t want to accept the consequences such as being racially profiled by police and discriminated against by their professors,” Gamio said.

According to Gamio, “they,” meaning all Latinos on campus, want the university to punish the students involved in the parties for offending Latino cultural sensitivities.

“I think the administration needs to have disciplinary action and they’re too scared to do that," she said. "These parties keep happening because they walk away with a slap on the wrist and they have no understanding of what they did was wrong.”

One of the students in attendance at the party allegedly shouted, “We’re not racist! We’re celebrating.”

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