AU hosts 'Tiki Time' despite cancellation of vet fundraiser

Amber Athey
Investigative Reporter

  • American University is hosting a “Tiki Time” study break, a play on Hawaiian culture, after denying a fraternity’s “Bad(minton) and Boujee” event over concerns about cultural appropriation.
  • Administrators insisted that the frat fundraiser would elicit complaints because the title referenced a rap song, but "luau party themes" have also been criticized as a form of cultural appropriation.
  • American University is hosting a “Tiki Time” study break, a play on Hawaiian culture, after denying a fraternity’s “Bad(minton) and Boujee” event over concerns about cultural appropriation.

    [RELATED: UMass creates cultural appropriation ‘threat meter’ for Halloween]

    “This is extremely hypocritical, and representative of the [administration's] anti-greek sentiment.”   

    On May 2, AU will host “Final Perk: Tiki Time,” a final exam study break with palm trees, tiki torches, leis, and “tropical giveaways.”

    The event is a play on Hawaiian culture, which some claim is a form of cultural appropriation.

    “Appropriation of island culture predominantly takes the form of luau party themes displaying tacky American takes on Hawaiian culture,” Danielle Kalani Heinz wrote for The Daily Cal. “Modern day luau themes do not capture the same spirit that Pacific Islanders associate with them, but reflect the stereotypes that have been imposed on our community.”

    Notably, an AU fraternity recently had to cancel a fundraiser for veterans called “Bad(minton) and Boujee” after administrators objected that it could be seen as cultural appropriation because it is a play on a rap song called “Bad and Boujee.”

    [RELATED: Fundraiser for vets cancelled at AU for 'appropriating culture']

    “I suspect that this event name will be criticized for the use of ‘boujee,’” Colin Gerker, the assistant director for fraternity and sorority life, told Sigma Alpha Mu. “I know it’s a colloquial term and is popular via Migos, but we have had groups get reamed for appropriating culture before related to situations like this.”

    Anonymous students told Campus Reform that, in light of the cancellation of the frat fundraiser, they found the tiki-themed party to be hypocritical.

    “The university administration approved this appropriation of Pacific Islander culture, violating their own principals. This, arguably, is far worse than what Sammy [Sigma Alpha Mu] tried to do,” one student exclaimed.

    “You ask a Fraternity to cancel a philanthropy event for ‘cultural appropriation’ for using the word bougie and then host this event?” an alumni asked incredulously. “This is extremely hypocritical, and representative of the anti-greek sentiment that this University's administration pushes.”

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @amber_athey





    Amber Athey

    Amber Athey

    Investigative Reporter

    Amber Athey is an Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. She graduated from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Government and Economics, and is currently a member of the 2016-2017 Koch Associate Program. 

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