Washington Post editorialist Catherine Rampell has the story.
On Saturday, two members of Bowdoin Collegeâ€™s student government will face impeachment proceedings. What heinous transgression did they commit? Theft, plagiarism, sexual assault?
Nope. They attended a party where some guests wore tiny sombreros.
Two weeks ago, some students threw a birthday party for a friend. The email invitation read: â€œthe theme is tequila, so do with that what you may. Weâ€™re not saying itâ€™s a fiesta, but weâ€™re also not not saying that :).â€ The invitation â€” sent by a student of Colombian descent, which may or may not be relevant here â€” advertised games, music, cups and â€œother things that are conducive to a fun night.â€
Those â€œother thingsâ€ included the miniature sombreros, several inches in diameter. And when photos of attendees wearing those mini-sombreros showed up on social media, students and administrators went ballistic.
College administrators sent multiple schoolwide emails notifying the students about an â€œinvestigationâ€ into a possible â€œact of ethnic stereotyping.â€
Partygoers ultimately were reprimanded or placed on â€œsocial probation,â€ and the hosts have been kicked out of their dorm, according to friends. (None of the disciplined students whom I contacted wanted to speak on the record; Bowdoin President Clayton Rose declined an interview and would not answer a general question about what kinds of disciplinary options are considered when students commit an â€œact of bias.â€) …
Within days, the Bowdoin Student Government unanimously adopted a â€œstatement of solidarityâ€ to â€œ[stand] by all students who were injured and affected by the incident,â€ and recommend that administrators â€œcreate a space for those students who have been or feel specifically targeted.â€
The statement deemed the party an act of â€œcultural appropriation,â€ one that â€œcreates an environment where students of color, particularly Latino, and especially Mexican, students feel unsafe.â€ The effort to purge the two representatives who attended the party, via impeachment, soon followed.
Read the whole thing and be glad you went to college years ago, when the country was comparatively sane.