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‘Cops and robbers’ party held by ‘the Hall’ fraternity faces criticism

IFC president says party was not meant to be offensive

<p>Delta Psi's, also known as "The Hall," fraternity house.</p>

Delta Psi's, also known as "The Hall," fraternity house.

The Delta Psi fraternity at the University — commonly referred to as the St. Anthony Hall fraternity or “the Hall” — held a party Thursday night which has been criticized by some students on social media as encouraging racist conduct by inviting partygoers to wear themed “cops and robbers” attire. It was reportedly shut down by student protesters, according to a Facebook post by activist organization U.Va. Students United.

Student protesters allegedly confronted attendees of the party for an hour before fraternity members called the police claiming that the protesters were trespassing on private property, according to the post made by U.Va. Students United on Friday. 

U.Va. Students United criticized the conduct and attire of party attendees, condemning the fraternity for hosting the party and allowing “willful ignorance that allows white supremacy to continue.” 

“The members of the frat wore orange jumpsuits, with bandanas tied around their heads, chains and tattoos drawn on their arms,” the Facebook post read. “These ‘costumes’ make a joke of mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex, systems that disproportionately brutalize people of color.”

“The predominantly white members of this fraternity got to take their costumes off at the end of the night, people trapped in the prison system do not,” the post continued. “Historically, the police have justified violence against people of color in the name of protecting white women, and in wearing these costumes, these women made a joke of that legacy of violence.”

Henry Crochiere, the Inter-Fraternity Council president and a fourth-year College student, described his version of the timeline of Thursday night’s events in an email exchange with The Cavalier Daily.

“The Inter-Fraternity Council was first notified of this when I received a call around 11 p.m. from the President of Delta Psi asking for help to deescalate the situation. I was right next door so I arrived soon after,” Crochiere said. “A group of protesters were in the front yard requesting that the private date function be shut down due to the insensitive ‘cops and robbers’ theme of the party. After trying to have a dialogue between the fraternity members and the protestors, it was determined that it would be best to call the police to help facilitate conversation and make sure there was order.”

Crochiere also acknowledged that some members of the University community may have been offended by the “cops and robbers” theme of the party.

“The Inter-Fraternity Council acknowledges that the theme, while not overtly reprehensible, is potentially offensive to members of the community,” Crochiere said. “As a result, we thought it was best to end the party and other Delta Psi events planned for the weekend in order to reevaluate the situation.”

Crochiere said that he met with Thomas Green — president of the St. Anthony Hall fraternity and a fourth-year Engineering student — the next morning in order to discuss the events of the previous night. Green declined to comment for this article. 

“The president of the fraternity along with myself had a meeting the next morning with [Asst.] Dean [and Director of Fraternity & Sorority Life Hal] Turner in order to further discuss the concerns of the protestors in a genuine attempt to respond in a constructive matter,” Crochiere said. 

Crochiere also said the party was not a deliberate effort by the Hall fraternity to offend anyone.

“It should be noted that Delta Psi had no intentions to offend anyone, but they should have more foresight to be sensitive to a theme like this especially in light of recent events involving police both in Charlottesville and on the national scale,” Crochiere said. “Moving forward, it would be beneficial for all parties to connect in the coming weeks and have a discussion about last Thursday's events so we can learn from it.”

U.Va. Students United and the Charlottesville Police Department, which was called to the party, did not return requests for comment.