UC-Irvine frat under investigation for video with person in blackface

April 26, 2013 at 11:10 AM
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IRVINE, Calif., April 26 (UPI) -- The University of California-Irvine is investigating a fraternity following an outcry over a video that includes a person in blackface, officials said.

Thomas Parham, the university's vice chancellor for student affairs, said Thursday he was notified earlier this week about the video, which involved four students parodying "Suit and Tie" sung by Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z, with the student portraying Jay-Z in blackface, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Parham said the investigation into the students' actions as well as their fraternity, Lambda Theta Delta, would determine whether disciplinary action or sanctions are warranted.

"What we have to investigate is whether it's just individuals or just an organization or whether it's both that are responsible," Parham said.

Parham said the students "profoundly" apologized for their actions and the campus community united to condemn the video.

The fraternity posted an apology on its Facebook page Wednesday, saying it "sincerely apologizes for the extremely racist content of the 'Suit and Tie' video."

"The use of blackface in the video is incredibly offensive as well as insensitive," the fraternity said. "This behavior is simply unacceptable and the individuals responsible for the video have already been reprimanded within the organization prior to the public outcry to which this formal apology is responding."

Ainaria Johnson, co-chairwoman of UC-Irvine's Black Student Union, told the Daily Pilot, "We'd like to point out that this blackface video isn't the first, nor is it the last, example of racism that's been shown on this campus."

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