In a joint statement, Interfraternity Council President Dominic Hjerpe, Panhellenic President Danielle Durante and Interfraternity Council public relations director Alex Horncliff wrote, “IFC gave an apology to the Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo community because there was an email associating greeks with a culturally insensitive theme. We issued a statement because we wanted to clarify our belief that there is no room for insensitive themes in the Cal Poly or greek community.”
Leaders of the Cal Poly greek community clarified their apology for the “Colonial Bros and Nava-hos” party Tuesday, shifting blame away from fraternities and sororities that might have been involved with it.
In a joint statement, Interfraternity Council President Dominic Hjerpe, Panhellenic President Danielle Durante and Interfraternity Council public relations director Alex Horncliff wrote, “IFC gave an apology to the Cal Poly & San Luis Obispo Community because there was an email associating Greeks with a culturally insensitive theme. We issued a statement because we wanted to clarify our belief that there is no room for insensitive themes in the Cal Poly or Greek Community.”
All three said they did not know if greeks were involved with the party.
Greek life’s original apology came from Horncliff, a business administration junior, at a campus forum on racism and sexism one week after the party. Horncliff issued his apology on behalf of “a community of greeks,” and appeared then to take responsibility for the party.
“We messed up. That is something that is clear and one thing that has to be understood,” Horncliff said. “This is not something that we stand behind. I’ll repeat it, and I’ll repeat it until it’s dead.”
Horncliff said Tuesday the meaning of the apology was “difficult to put into words,” since he did not intend to say greeks were responsible for the party.
“It’s not the fact it was a greek organization that had done it,” he said. “Even if it’s not us, we should be taking responsibility for it and apologizing for it.”
The public’s eye tied greek life to the party from the beginning, when an email from Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong condemned “a social fraternity and sorority event from this past weekend that was offensive to Native Americans and women in the party’s theme and suggested costumes.”
Greek leadership was blindsided by the email tying greek life to the party, Hjerpe said. They knew Cal Poly was looking into the party, he said, but didn’t expect an email identifying fraternity and sorority involvement with the party.
Hjerpe also said he does not know for certain a party with the theme “Colonial Bros and Nava-hos” took place.
No one at the forum disputed greek life’s involvement or the name of the theme. Jenell Navarro, the president of the American Indian and Indigenous Faculty Staff Association, referenced both in her opening remarks.
At the forum, ethnic studies junior Logan Cooper called for an apology from campus leaders about the party. Now, he said he feels as if they are taking it back.
“It sounds to me like one of those very corporate apologies,” he said. “‘I’m sorry we were accused of doing something wrong, rather than were sorry for actually doing something wrong.'”
The party is still under investigation.