We, as concerned students of UC Davis and community members, would like to declare our utter offense and disgust with an off campus event organized by UC Davis students.
It has been brought to our attention that a “Cinco de Drinko Sloshball” Facebook event page was created by UC Davis Coffee House (CoHo) student employees earlier this week. The event is a party intended to have attendees dress in “festive” attire, meaning stereotypical “Mexican” dress (a sombrero and sarape, fake mustache, etc.). In addition, attendees are given an image that demonstrates the attire they should wear, which includes a border patrol officer costume. These images are hurtful to our community and only serve to create a hostile campus climate by sending a message of disregard and disrespect for the Chican@/Latin@ and Undocumented/Immigrant campus community.
Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that marks and celebrates the victory over French rule that was momentous for the state of Puebla, Mexico. This holiday is often manipulated by individuals who use inaccurate images of Mexican culture and affiliate it strongly with alcoholic consumption, despite the fact that there is no real correlation between the two. Many student organizations around the nation, including UC Davis’s own Delta Chi Fraternity, host these types of events and encourage the student community to engage in these racist actions. Many justify it by saying that these are “harmless” events and that attendees are “just trying to have fun.” However, when the communities that are mocked are communities that struggle on a daily basis to have to prove their worth at academic institutions, they are indeed harmful. They invisibilize and make a joke of the lives of students that are historically underrepresented and underserved at the University. The fact that the student employees, who represent the face of the University, planned this event, are perpetuating this ignorance with no sensitivity towards the Chican@/Latin@ and undocumented/immigrant community on our campus, is a reflection of the lack of respect for different cultures and student experiences.
Lastly, it is ironic that this event is scheduled to take place on the same day as La Gran Tardeada (the culmination of La Raza Cultural Days), which in turn marginalizes the Chican@/Latin@ community on campus even further. It is also an indication of where the campuswide community stands when it comes to cultural competency and understanding and upholding our UC Davis Principles of Community. La Raza Cultural Days and other cultural celebrations during the year are often denied adequate support. Regretful events, such as this “party,” tell us that we have not come as far as we’d like to claim with cultural competency and need to support these programs every opportunity possible. This “Cinco de Drinko Sloshball” event invalidates years of work from multiple organizations, student centers, departments and students on a day that ironically is meant to celebrate and unite the community.
Students planning and participating in this event should be trained to understand why these events are hurtful, offensive, and backward. Despite the years of progress that have been made by strides in the Chican@/Latin@ community at UC Davis, these racist actions remind us that there is still much work to be done. We urge UC Davis and the CoHo to hold its student employees accountable for their actions and take appropriate and effective steps forward to ensure that these types of events will not take place again.
Concerned Students and Community Members of UC Davis
Chicana/o Studies & Psychology Major
UC Davis Alumni 2012