Officials at UC Irvine have launched an investigation after a public outcry over a recent video produced by students from a fraternity that showed a person in blackface.
Thomas Parham, UC Irvine’s vice chancellor for student affairs, said Thursday that he was notified of the video earlier this week and that it involved four students who were doing a parody of a song that included mimicking performers like Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z.
The student portraying Jay-Z in the parody was in blackface, Parham said, and many on the campus were outraged.
He said an investigation into the actions of the students as well as their fraternity, Lambda Theta Delta, was underway and would determine whether any 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 a silver lining to the incident was that the students involved have “profoundly” apologized for their actions and that the campus community has come together to condemn the video.
The fraternity posted an apology on its Facebook page Wednesday, saying the group “sincerely apologizes for the extremely racist content of the ‘Suit and Tie’ video.”
“The use of black face in the video is incredibly offensive as well as insensitive,” the fraternity said in its lengthy post. “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.”
Whether students are willing to accept the apology remains to be seen.
Ainaria Johnson, co-chairwoman of UCI’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.”