Clemson University has apologized after serving Mexican food in its dining halls after a small number of Mexican students complained that they were offended, Campus Reform is reporting.
Are you kidding me? ‘Clemson Apologizes for ‘Maximum Mexican’ food day, a tradition’ http://t.co/EDABjd04Mb
— Cigar Dave (@CigarDaveShow) October 10, 2015
For years, Clemson students have enjoyed their dining service’s various themed ethnic food days — which included corned beef, fried fish, “Irish grilled cheese” on Saint Patrick’s Day, and “Low Country BBQ Bash” where students could “pick up a plate of mighty fine fixins.” “Maximum Mexican” was no different. In fact, to some students it was an event to look forward to.
However, this year, the event, which Clemson student Austin Pendergist said amounted to little more than “a couple of balloons, sombreros and some tacos,” offended some Mexican students at the South Carolina university.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) October 10, 2015
In a tweet that has since been deleted, a Clemson student whose Twitter handle (@xoclemsonpanda) only identifies her as “Amanda A,” expressed her displeasure at Clemson Dining’s “offensive” and “culturally insensitive” event.
“Really, @ClemsonUniv?! @ClemsonPrez I thought your focus was #Diversity #CUFiestaFiasco #CulturallyInsensitive”
Amanda A. wasn’t the only Clemson student offended by the Mexican food. Another student, in another tweet that has since been deleted, complained. He or she tweeted a photo of a cafeteria worker in a sombrero, with the caption, “Our culture isn’t a costume and we will not be mocked!”
Eventually, the complaints about Mexican food being insensitive to Mexicans reached the ears of Clemson’s government. In a statement, Dr. Doug Hallenbeck, Clemson University’s Senior Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, apologized for the event’s “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. We will continue to work closely with our food service provider to create dining programs that align with Clemson University’s core values.”
Now, it seems that Clemson University’s apology has caused more outrage than the thing for which they apologized in the first place. Austin Pendergist, for one, is appalled.
“This is something that Clemson Dining has done for years without any sort of backlash. People love the cultural nights in the dining halls. 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?”
On Twitter, users are responding to the apology with something between bemusement and downright rage (although to be fair, it’s impossible to tell how many of those tweets come from people associated with Clemson University and how many come from outraged observers).
— Laurie D. (@LolosInTheHouse) October 9, 2015
Over on the Twitter page of Amanda A., the Clemson student whose tweet started this controversy, users are cutting her no slack at all. In fact, some of the remarks made by users against her border on hateful. Some have asked if she is offended by Taco Bell, while others have told her she has a “limited” view of the world
Do you believe Clemson University needed to apologize for offending Mexicans by serving Mexican food? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/hotbox]