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This Fraternity Held A "Mexican-Themed" Party Where Some Dressed As Construction Workers

Baylor University is investigating the "racially insensitive" party thrown by the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Posted on May 1, 2017, at 2:48 p.m. ET

Baylor University in Texas is investigating a "Mexican-themed" party thrown by the Kappa Sigma fraternity where people showed up in sombreros, ponchos, and as construction workers, according to partygoers.

Skye Thomas, a freshman at Baylor who attended the party on Saturday, told BuzzFeed News that a majority of the people there "were dressed in sombreros, Mexican dresses, and flower crowns."

Thomas told BuzzFeed News that she saw one bartender in brownface as well as "multiple guys who were dancing on the table inside who were dressed in bright orange and green construction vests."

Twitter: @Skyee_18

She did not know if the bartender was a member of the fraternity, but said that "typically, the boys run their own bar."

According to Thomas, some of the invites said the theme was "Drinko de Mayo" or "Cinco de Mayo," while others advertised it as a "fiesta."

She also said she didn't know the theme of the party until she arrived and was told by a guest that it was "Mexican-themed."

Photos that appear to be from the party spread on social media, where many Baylor students expressed outrage.

so kappa sig threw a "mexican" party? yall are bold to yell build a wall but quick to have my culture as a theme fo…

Thomas said that while not everyone was dressed in Mexican stereotypes, the fraternity "didn't stop them from dressing offensively and in doing so they condoned this behavior."

While some on social media alleged that partygoers chanted "Build the wall," Thomas said she did not hear it. However, she added, she has heard about Kappa Sigma chanting it at other events.

"Apparently, they have chanted 'Build the wall' before and then threw a party to 'celebrate' a Mexican holiday, so that is one of the reasons many people were hurt by it," Thomas said.

Baylor officials said they were investigating the "racially insensitive" off-campus event.

"The reported behavior is deeply concerning..." A statement from #Baylor VP for Student Life Kevin Jackson:

"The reported behavior is deeply concerning," Kevin Jackson, vice president of student life, said in the statement. "We do not tolerate racism of any kind on our campus."

A spokesperson for the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, meanwhile, said it has suspended operations of the Baylor chapter pending the outcome of an investigation in cooperation with the university.

"The allegations are inconsistent with the values of Kappa Sigma and, upon the completion of the investigation, the fraternity will address the findings in an appropriate manner," the statement added.

The chapter's members did not respond to a request for comment.

Halley Yzquierdo, a Baylor student who slammed the party as "ignorant" on Twitter, shared a tweet by a male student who told her, "Party still going, feel free to join the house cleaners."

Twitter: @halley_blakess

It is unclear if the student, Ernie Kennedy, was at the party, and he has since made his tweets private.

"I understand that this party may not have been thrown with the intent of marginalizing a specific group, but with the recent election, I feel it is crucial that we do not proliferate discrimination based on societal misconceptions," Yzquierdo wrote in a letter to the university.

Twitter: @halley_blakess

She also urged the university to expel the student who was allegedly wearing brownface, saying, "Wearing brown face to a party mocking Hispanics should be cause for expulsion @Baylor."

Some Baylor students defended the fraternity, saying, "All people did was dress up. For a cinco de mayo party."

One person demanded to know why "people advocating for equal treatment" did not complain about "white trash themed" parties.

However, most thought the party was offensive. "White people dressing up as maids and construction workers to celebrate their holiday is not [cool]," one Baylor student said.

People criticized the fraternity using the hashtag #DearKappaSig.

"#DearKappaSig one man's culture is not another one's costume," this person said.

One person mocked Kappa Sigma members, offering them free "multicultural tutoring" on "why dressing up as a housekeeper is offensive."

Others warned people not be "annoying and racist" as Cinco de Mayo is coming up on May 5.

Several students also criticized Baylor for the incident.

The university was scrutinized for its response to racism a day after Donald Trump won the election, when a black student said that a male student shoved her and said, "No niggers allowed on the sidewalk."

Baylor students organized a meeting Sunday night to discuss the incident and to give the partygoers and those affected by the party a platform to express their concerns, KWTX reported.

I will always go out of my way to stand up against racism and hatred. #dearkappasig #Baylor

"It's completely disrespectful to a lot of Latinos and Mexicans," Damian Moncada, who organized the meeting, said. "There's no place for that. We are a Christian university and we’re supposed to love and respect one another."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.