A chapter of a popular sorority has ignited a growing controversy after a picture taken and posted on the internet shows members posing as Mexicans with signs containing derogatory slogans.
The Chi Omega sorority of Penn State is currently the subject of an investigation after the Mexican-themed picture was posted on the internet, according to the independent Penn State blog Onward State.
The picture is thought to have been taken around Halloween and shows members of the sorority dressed in sombreros, fake mustaches and ponchos. Some of the girls in the picture are also holding signs that contain derogatory comments such as: "Will mow lawn for weed + beer" as well as "I don't cut grass I smoke it."
The picture was seen on both Tumblr and Facebook, where members from Onward State were able to link girls seen in the picture to members of the Chi Omega sorority on campus.
Jessica Riccardi, the president of the Nu Gamma chapter of Chi Omega, issued an apology and told the Daily Collegian that the sorority is the subject of an investigation.
"Our chapter of Chi Omega sincerely apologizes for portraying inappropriate and untrue stereotypes. The picture in question does not support any of Chi Omega's values or reflect what the organization aspires to be," Riccardi stated.
While the photo was evidently a poor choice at prejudiced humor, Penn State officials were quick to denounce the act and assure everyone that the few people shown in the photo do not represent the greater Penn State community.
"The students in the photo are within their First Amendment rights to express themselves in this way … although we are certainly appalled that they would display this level of insensitivity and lack of judgment," Lisa Powers, director of public information at Penn State, said in a statement to Yahoo! News.
"These costumes and this group do not represent fraternity and sorority life at Penn State, nor the 95,000 students who attend our university. The Chi Omega sorority sisters have expressed deep remorse over this incident," Powers added.