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Blackface Leads to Suspensions

November 20, 2002|From the Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Two of the University of Virginia's oldest fraternities have been suspended by their national organizations while under investigation for a Halloween party at which a few guests were photographed wearing blackface.

Photos from the party, hosted Oct. 31 by Zeta Psi and Kappa Alpha, circulated on the Internet for several weeks before they came to the attention of campus and fraternity officials Monday. University sources who saw the photos said they showed three costumed students with their faces painted black or brown. One man was dressed as Uncle Sam; two other men were dressed as tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams.

National fraternal leaders stepped in to investigate, and they joined Virginia students and university officials in denouncing the costumes.

The fraternity investigations, first reported Tuesday in the Cavalier Daily student newspaper, are the latest in blackface incidents at college fraternities nationally.

In one, two fraternity houses at Auburn University in Alabama were suspended after members attended parties in blackface and Afro wigs and Ku Klux Klan robes.

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