"At a time of year when our thoughts are turning to family, holidays and the start of a new year – all the things that unite us and bring us joy — it is discouraging that so many events and issues are causing division and hurt, and making many students feel unwanted at this great university. It hurts to read disrespectful and just plain mean comments in social media. Last night’s “Cripmas” party, which the university did not sanction, raised more concerns about the campus climate. Clemson is better than this.
"Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion about events in Ferguson, Staten Island and the protest rallies that those events have spawned. Great universities are built on the free expression and exploration of ideas. But the free expression of opinion must not cross the line and become harassment or intimidation, just as rallies and protest marches must not cross the line to lawlessness.
"Our core values – honesty, integrity and respect – must be more than just words. I plan to host a series of events in early 2015 to foster productive discussion and unity that includes a broad segment of the campus – and I hope that I can count on your active participation.
"In the meantime, please be supportive of each other during this busy and sometimes stressful season."
While Clemson students protested non-indictments in Ferguson and Staten Island on campus during the weekend, some frat bros decided to elevate the race discussion by dressing like gang members.
The gang-themed gathering "Clemson Cripmas" led to the suspension of a fraternity's officers, and university officials say more suspensions are possible.
The university's Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter members, their alumni advisory board and the national headquarters decided to suspend all activity indefinitely.
The Crips are mainly African-American, but not exclusively, street gangs founded in Los Angeles, California, in the late 1960s.