UA Little Rock responds to "racially insensitive incident" involving video of fraternity and sorority | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, April 19, 2018

UA Little Rock responds to "racially insensitive incident" involving video of fraternity and sorority

Posted By on Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 2:37 PM



UA Little Rock posted a statement on Facebook today from Chancellor Andrew Rogerson about what it described as a "racially insensitive incident" last weekend: "Over the weekend, there was a racially insensitive incident involving individuals within two Greek organizations at UA Little Rock. The students were singing a rap song that was recorded in a video that contained offensive lyrics."

The brief video (see above) was originally uploaded to Facebook this morning by a candidate for Student Government Association president, according to a report by the D-G. It shows members of the Chi Omega sorority and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity singing along to the song "Freaky Friday," a dreadful collaboration by the white rapper Lil Dicky and the black R&B singer Chris Brown. The white students repeatedly shout along to the n-word.

Rogerson stated that the university has begun an investigation of the incident and contacted the national chapters of the fraternity and sorority to initiate their own investigations.

"We are reviewing the behavior in relation to our Code of Student Conduct for any possible violations and will take appropriate steps as outlined in the student handbook," he said in the statement. "In the interim, the organizations have been restricted in their participation in campus programs and activities."

I'm going to see if I can explain "Freaky Friday" without descending into a postmodern hellscape. The premise of the song is that Lil Dicky and Chris Brown have magically switched bodies, like in various forgettable movies such as, well, "Freaky Friday." Brown sings in the character of Lil Dicky in Chris Brown's body. Dicky raps in the character of Brown in Dicky's body. Just watch the damn video.

The bit that has landed the UALR students in hot water is that when the character of Lil Dicky is transported to Brown's body, he gets excited about the fact that he can say the n-word. And so, he (voiced by Brown), sings the word over and over again.

The gag in that bit in the song is that white people are really itching for permission to use the racially charged slur. The finale to our postmodern hellscape — in which white students sing along to a black singer pretending to be a white rapper inhabiting the body of a black singer — is that the white fraternity and sorority members in the UA Little Rock video do indeed seem very enthusiastic about shouting the word "nigga" over and over again. Only they haven't been transported to Chris Brown's body, they're partying on a bus, repeatedly shouting out a racial slur.

The Virginia Tech women's lacrosse team made headlines doing precisely the same thing just last month, posting a video of themselves on a bus giddily shouting along to the same bit in the song.

"The university is taking this situation very seriously because it violates every principle for which we stand," Rogerson said in his statement.

Here's his full statement:
University response to racially insensitive incident:

Over the weekend, there was a racially insensitive incident involving individuals within two Greek organizations at UA Little Rock. The students were singing a rap song that was recorded in a video that contained offensive lyrics.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock values diversity and inclusion as an important part of our campus community. There is no place for racial discrimination at UA Little Rock. Upon learning about the incident, the university took immediate steps to begin investigation of the incident and contacted the respective national fraternity and sorority headquarters for their own investigations. We are reviewing the behavior in relation to our Code of Student Conduct for any possible violations and will take appropriate steps as outlined in the student handbook. In the interim, the organizations have been restricted in their participation in campus programs and activities.

On Friday morning, staff and administrators from a number of university offices will be available to talk with concerned students in the Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity.

The university is taking this situation very seriously because it violates every principle for which we stand.

As noted above, we have invited students to drop in to the Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity on the second floor of Ottenheimer Library tomorrow morning, April 20, from 9 a.m. to noon to talk with campus representatives who will be available to listen to their concerns.

Additional steps the university will be taking include the following:
- Expand efforts of the Diversity Council. A form on the Diversity Council website is available to submit concerns.
- Increase student programming on cultural competencies
- Initiate an immediate search for a director of a new Office of Multicultural Student Support Services

In times of such hostility, we have the opportunity to engage in an open and honest dialogue.

Sincerely,
Chancellor Andrew Rogerson



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