Clemson University has apologized after at least one student claimed she was offended by an annual Mexican cuisine event held in two of the school's dining halls.
The event, named "Maximum Mexican," included food servers wearing sombreros and several other Mexican-themed decorations. While the overwhelming response among students was positive on social media, one student took to Twitter to call out the school for being "culturally insensitive."
"Really @ClemsonUniv?! @ClemsonPrez I thought your focus was #Diversity #CUFiestaFiasco #CUlturallyInsensitive," the student tweeted Wednesday.
Clemson University issued a tweet the next day to apologize to "anyone who was offended."
"Our intention was to celebrate Mexican cuisine, which is a student favorite on campus. We will review future programming and partner with the campus community to create events that more appropriately represent food and culture," a statement from the university read.
Clemson Dining would like to apologize to anyone who was offended by the Maximum Mexican event... pic.twitter.com/STZk2vbzj2— Clemson Dining (@ClemsonDining) October 8, 2015
Clemson senior Austin Pendergist, like many students on Twitter, didn't see anything wrong with the event. Pendergist told Campus Reform that he thinks the controversy was "ridiculous."
“This is something that Clemson Dining has done for years without any sort of backlash. People love the cultural nights in the dining halls," Pendergist said. "What's next? Are they going to take away all potato based food as to not offend students from Irish decent? Remove the stir fry station so Asian-American students don't feel as if they are being misrepresented?"
"When does it end?” Penergist added.
The same student who called out the college for hosting the event again tweeted, after the university issued an apology, thanking those who "stood up to bigotry."
Thank you to all of the amazing people who stood up to bigotry :) Can't wait for Clemson to see how great real Hispanic culture is— Amanda A (@xoclemsonpanda) October 9, 2015
Pendergist said Clemson has held a number of other cultural dining events that were not controversial. Such events have included St. Patrick's Day meals of cornbeef, fried fish and Irish grilled cheese," according to Campus Reform.
“For as long as I've been here, and probably for much longer, Clemson dining has put on certain culinary theme nights," Pendergist said. "They decorate the dining halls and serve whatever kind of food. They have Italian night, Mexican night, seafood night, midnight breakfast, all kinds of events."
But despite what appears to be a honest effort to represent many cultural traditions, the university said it regrets its “flattened cultural view of Mexican culture.”
“It is the mission of University Housing & Dining to create supportive and challenging environments that enrich and nourish lives. We failed to live out our mission yesterday, and we sincerely apologize,” Clemson senior associate vice president Doug Hallenbeck said.
(H/T: Campus Reform)
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