PSU Won’t Pursue Discipline For Sorority Photos
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) – Penn State president Rodney Erickson admonished students who wore costumes and held offensive signs in photographs circulated on the Internet, but said in a campus-wide letter Thursday that the school won't pursue disciplinary action.
The letter didn’t specifically reference the photos or name the Chi Omega sorority, which has apologized. But Erickson said it became clear in recent days that some students “celebrated Halloween in costumes that offended others” and acted contrary to university values.
One sign in the photo of sorority sisters says “will mow lawn for weed + beer.” Two women holding signs are wearing fake mustaches. Others in the photo wore sombreros.
Erickson said the “disturbing behaviors” were protected by free speech rights. He said he was disappointed and dismayed, but hoped that lessons would be learned from the case.
Also Thursday, a posting on the Chi Omega national chapter’s Web site said the Penn State sorority has been placed on probation. The posting cited members “portraying inappropriate and untrue ethnic stereotypes at a social function.”
Chi Omega's Memphisbased national office said it was working closely with Penn State and the school's Panhellenic Council to “implement corrective educational directives for the chapter.”