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McDaniel College Probes ‘CMT Versus BET’ Event

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ) — Controversy on campus. A fraternity and sorority at McDaniel College are under fire after allegations of ethnic stereotyping during a party.

Mike Hellgren explains why the party’s theme is upsetting so many.

It has generated heated debate both on and off campus and could result in anything from a warning for the fraternity and sorority involved to the loss of their charters.

A fraternity and sorority at McDaniel College are under investigation after holding a party in January with the theme “Country Music Television versus Black Entertainment Television.”

In a statement, a McDaniel vice president told WJZ: “McDaniel supports inclusiveness. Any event that promotes negatives stereotypes or disrespect of others is reprehensible.”

WJZ found the CMT/BET theme is a popular one, with various fraternities and sororities posting pictures on sites like Pinterest and Facebook.

Elizabeth Nbunya graduated from McDaniel four years ago and says race issues were not a problem for her there.

“I had very wonderful teachers and staff and students. So I feel very welcomed,” Nbunya said.

One current student agrees.

“I think everyone gets along with everyone here. I don’t really know of any issues,” she said.

The school newspaper first reported on the party and has received dozens of comments, including from some who see no problem with the theme.

One wrote: “Just because you’re on CMT channel does not mean you are white.”

Some took issue with comparisons to other recent Greek party controversies, including an Arizona State MLK themed party that got a fraternity expelled and a party at Duke that mocked Asians.

Click here for statements from the fraternity and sorority.

The sorority involved in the McDaniel party, Phi Sigma Sigma, said in a statement: “Phi Sigma Sigma finds the actions associated with this event inappropriate… The issue has been brought to the attention of Phi Sigma Sigma’s International Standards Board, and our collegiate women will be held accountable for their actions.”

WJZ also heard from national administrators from the fraternity involved, Phi Delta Theta. They say are deeply concerned about the allegations and that if any of their members violated any policies or their spirit of tolerance, they, too, will be held accountable.

The party was not officially sanctioned by the school, but was an informal social event.

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