Lynchburg University students wear racist costumes at Mexican-themed party

“This is what we call cultural appropriation, stereotyping and absolutely disrespectful. I want disciplinary action now.”

Offended and hurt.

That’s how some students at the University of Lynchburg feel after pictures of an on-campus party show some of their classmates in costumes depicting offensive Mexican stereotypes.

“This is what we call cultural appropriation, stereotyping and absolutely disrespectful. I want disciplinary action now,” a tweet by Lynchburg University student Darian Geddis said.

10 News has blurred the students’ faces, but in the pictures, you can see one person wearing a sombrero and fake mustache.

In another, a student appears to be dressed as a gang member with a tattoo drawn in marker on his neck and the caption, “hola senor” on the picture.

Geddis said the pictures stirred up division and arguments in the classroom on Monday.

“I heard the comments defending what was happening this weekend and I simply say you must be empathetic and you must understand when you culturally appropriate another person’s culture and when you have this derogatory perception of what you think they are, it’s disrespectful,” said Geddis.

School leaders told 10 News that they were notified about the party Friday night and quickly started an investigation.

“Our commitment to diversity certainly has been very strong in the past few years, which is why this act is so disturbing,” said Vice President and Dean for Student Development Aaron Smith.

School leaders would not identify who threw the party; however, students told 10 News that it was some members of the volleyball team and men’s soccer team.

President of the Latin co-ed fraternity Laura Arriaza described this as a misrepresentation of Mexican people and their culture.

“They’re kind of just showing that Hispanic culture has to be about gang culture as well and that’s not it,” said Arriaza.

School leaders said in the last few years they’ve worked to create new curriculum and programs on campus about diversity and inclusion.

Some students said they’ve been a part of those programs, but don’t believe it has been a requirement for everyone.

“I don’t think they’ve been a part of it at all because they’re athletes. They’re not required to do anything else, but go to their practices and their games," said Arriaza.

School leaders said it’s an ongoing investigation to determine who was a part of the party and who was offended.

Students told 10 News they’re planning to hold a walkout on Wednesday.

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