STORY BY SARAH GROSSMAN
On the weekend of Nov. 21 Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) held a Thanksgiving themed party that created controversy around campus.
Last Tuesday Drake President David Maxwell sent an email explaining that Drake holds firm to the University’s “Statement of Principles.”
This reaffirmation came after Maxwell received notice regarding PIKE’s party. This party had a theme that was open to interpretation said PIKE’s president, Clint Cowan.
“Our party theme was Thanksgiving and from there, some members in the house dressed up and others did not,” Cowan said. “I was actually sober at the event, and from what I saw, two females showed up in Native American outfits, and we did not by any means condone this or tell anyone to show up dressed in a certain way. It was an open option to dress up if you wanted to.”
However, there is speculation that an insinuated theme of Pilgrims and Indians existed and that women were encouraged to wear risqué costumes.
Hannah Bruneman, a junior magazines major, believes the incident was out of PIKE’s hands, unless they had encouraged students to act in such a way.
“I don’t think it’s the fraternity’s fault,” Bruneman said. “I think they just threw a party. That is, unless the fraternity said come dressed as a slutty Indian.”
The fraternity is currently under investigation, which will wrap up before the end of fall semester. Due to this, Kerry Jordan, director of Greek life, declined an interview, but released the following statement via email.
“Because this event is still being investigated by the University it is not appropriate for me to comment on this situation,” Jordan said. “As a community we respect all people and do not condone any situation that would make any person feel offended or disrespected in any way.”
Todd Evans, a electronic media professor, also heard about the controversially themed party.
“The term I heard was ‘sexy American Indian,’” Evans said. “And that’s what caused me to kind of go, ‘Hmm, what is going here? I thought we had gotten past that.’”
The controversial nature of the event caused Drake students, staff and faculty to question what actually occurred.
“You know, did this really happen, because that is what I’m hearing,” Evans said. “It doesn’t seem very progressive.”
Other students agree on the importance of being culturally aware.
“I think we need to be more sensitive about what we are wearing,” Bruneman said. “That topic comes up a lot especially around Halloween,” Bruneman said. “They need to be more sensitive and conscious about picking an outfit. It’s something as a Drake community we need to become more aware of.”
Adam Graves, vice president of health and safety for the Gamma Tau chapter of Theta Chi, understands this issue as fraternities face challenges with their party themes.
“I wouldn’t blame the holder of the event,” Graves said. “But they have some responsibility of the theme. I would be more conscious of your event and its theme.”
Cowan said PIKE holds firm that its actions did not directly impact the costume decisions of the individuals.
“In no way was this party meant to hurt anybody,” Cowan said. “It never had any malicious intent. It was a misunderstanding of what the theme was, Thanksgiving, and the costume choices were up to the individuals.”