A Cal State Northridge fraternity has sued school officials, contending the university violated the First Amendment by suspending the fraternity for distributing a party flyer that critics said was racist and sexist.
CSUN officials in November suspended the campus chapter of Zeta Beta Tau for 14 months because of a flyer advertising an October party to honor, among others, "Lupe." Latino student groups said "Lupe" is the name of a fictional "Mexican whore" described in a vulgar lyric borrowed from a UCLA fraternity songbook.
The ZBT suspension bars the fraternity from participating in any campus activities, including the recruitment of new members next fall.
The lawsuit, which was filed earlier this month in San Fernando Superior Court, said the fraternity is being punished for "expressing its right of free speech and free expression."
A hearing is scheduled for April 2.
"This is a First Amendment case; we can't lose," said Scott Krivis, a ZBT spokesman and local businessman.
Jeffrey Berns, attorney for ZBT, was not available for comment.
CSUN President Blenda J. Wilson said Wednesday that suspending ZBT was proper, because the fraternity had agreed to abide by campus rules prohibiting racially offensive behavior. "I believe what we did was right," she said.