UCLA African American Welcome Week Soured by Controversial 'Kanye Western' Frat Party | NBC Southern California

UCLA African American Welcome Week Soured by Controversial 'Kanye Western' Frat Party

About 150 students attended the theme party thrown by a predominantly white fraternity.

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    UCLA students were concerned about a frat party held near their campus that made a "mockery of black culture." Jane Yamamoto reports for NBC4 Today in LA on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. (Published Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015)

    UCLA students excited to attend welcome week got a surprise when a fraternity allegedly hosted a party called "Kanye Western" where students dressed up in do-rags and made a "mockery of black culture," students said Wednesday.

    The theme party was allegedly thrown by a predominantly white fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, with about 150 students attending.

    "Why do kids not know that it's wrong to go to parties like this? Why are we still having these same basic conversations?” UCLA student Andrena Collins said.

    UCLA’s Daily Bruin newspaper posted photos from the party with students’ faces blurred.

    NBC4 knocked on the Sigma Phi Epsilon door for comment from the fraternity, but no one answered.

    The African Student Union was not pleased with the party’s alleged theme.

    "We don't really know who was in that party. But pictures we saw -- blackface without the paint,” said Janay Williams, chair of the African Student Union. "There were people dressed in like do-rags, people dressed as ‘thugs, rappers.’ Just making a mockery of Black culture."

    The African Student Union said it heard back from the fraternity and a meeting is in the works.

    A student sent a notice on social media titled "#BLACKBRUINSMATTER" and planned a meeting at 12 p.m. Thursday at the Bruin Bear located at the Bruin Plaza.

    "I don't think that it's everybody," Collins said. "I think there are people that are supporters, and that do believe that this is an issue."

    UCLA also issued a statement about the party, which said: "We are concerned about these allegations and earnestly working to gather information about what occurred, talking to all those involved. While we do not yet have all the facts, the alleged behavior is inconsistent with good judgment as well as our principles of community. We remind students that while they are free to celebrate in ways that draw on popular culture, their specific choices can cause harm and pain to fellow members of their community. Put simply: Just because you can do something does not mean you should."

    NBC4 reached out to Kanye West for a comment but his representative said the entertainer was not available for comment. 

    Corey Arvin contributed to this report.