All requests may be typed and submitted to the Executive Vice President no later 5:00 p.m. Thursday in order to be included in the agenda for the following Tuesday. The Executive Vice President reserves the right to delay the Request for Action to a later Council session if the Executive Vice President feels the agenda for the next schedule meeting is full.
Item Number: 116 Legislation Number (B: Bill, R: Resolution): R49-98
Author:   Patrick Chen   Second:  Khaalidah Sidney, Naaila Mohammed
Synopsis: Student Concerns on Phi Gamma Delta's "FIJI Islander Party" event
Date of Presentation: 05-27-14

Whereas, the UCI registered fraternity Phi Gamma Delta promoted and hosted an off campus event for, advertised to, and attended by, UCI students titled “FIJI Islander Party” on May 15, 2014 and;


Whereas, promotional materials for the event included custom tank tops worn on campus and profile pictures appeared in the weeks leading up to the event and;


Whereas, the materials included the event title on a background of ocean and palm trees and;


Whereas, at “FIJI Islander Party” events in previous years, attendees were documented wearing grass skirts, leis, straw hats, and face and body paint and;


Whereas, at the event this year, the same attires were seen worn by event attendees both at the venue and at the Anteater Recreation Center where attendees boarded buses to the event and;


Whereas, these actions sanctioned and promoted by the fraternity are egregious acts of cultural appropriation of both the name and culture of the indigenous people of Fiji and;


Whereas, “Fiji Islander” is the identity of a people with real history, traditions, and lives, but has been used irreverently by the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta both locally at UCI and nationally and;


Whereas, stereotypes of Fijians and Pacific Islanders that reduce them to caricatured images of palm trees and grass skirts is racist and offensive and;


Whereas, when a concerned student raised these issues with the Phi Gamma Delta leadership in good faith and requested that the event be called off or at least have the theme removed, the event continued as planned and;


Whereas, these are some of the concerns as written by the concerned student and sent to the Phi Gamma Delta leadership more than 24 hours before the planned event:


1) I understand that "Fiji" has been the official nickname of your fraternity since 1894 (why that is is beyond me), but MY people have been around way longer than that. We have been known as FIJIANS since time immemorial and the fact that you're even using that as an excuse to justify it is very unacceptable.

2) Being recognized internationally does not change the fact that this is wrong and unethical. I forwarded some of the pictures of your Fiji Islander event to a few

colleagues and heads of Pacific Islander organizations and they all came to the same conclusion that this is cultural appropriation. Members of your fraternity are wearing traditional/cultural attires that are sacred and endemic to the Fijian people. WE do not even wear those in public because of the reticent respect we have for our culture and traditions.

3) I first encountered your booth on campus 2 years ago and it was displaying decorations of Coconut trees and palm leaves which are historical stereotypes that have been unfairly attributed to my people. [...]

4) FIJI ISLANDER is who I am. It is my identity. It is part and parcel of who I am. I do not use it as a nickname. I own it with every ounce of dignity and the fact that your organization uses it in such a manner is incredibly boorish. It's bad enough that "Fiji" is the name of the organization but to make a mockery of my people by including

"Islander" and have stereotypical props and caricatures in your event announcements and the actual events themselves leaves much to be desired about this whole ordeal.

5) There is a UN convention of the Rights of Indigenous people that recognizes the need for natives to preserve entities that are endemic to them and this includes their cultures, language, and most importantly EXCLUSIVE OWNERSHIP TO THEIR IDENTITY! What you're doing in your event by using Fiji Islander is committing group identity theft which is subject to legal ramifications under international law.


Whereas, when several UCI students conducted a peaceful protest at the ARC as attendees boarded the buses, a few UCI student attendees and fraternity members openly mocked Fijian people and the purpose of the protest and;


Whereas, it is the responsibility of ASUCI to advocate for and support the voices of students who have been marginalized by this campus and;


Whereas, at this time, two student organizations including Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan and Asian Pacific Student Association have written statements in support of these concerns and a number of School of Business organizations have also expressed support for these concerns and;


Let it be resolved that ASUCI Legislative Council supports and echoes these concerns including the five points above and;


Let it further be resolved that ASUCI Legislative Council recognizes that the Phi Gamma Delta “FIJI Islander Party” event name and execution was a clear violation of Fijian rights and dignity and;


Let it further be resolved that ASUCI Legislative Council strongly urges the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity to cease the hosting of an annual “FIJI Islander Party” themed event and;


Let it further be resolved that ASUCI Legislative Council strongly urges that the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, out of respect and decency to Fijian people and the UCI community, to cease the appropriative use of “FIJI” as its nickname in any of its on campus materials and;


Let it further be resolved that ASUCI Legislative Council recognizes that this racist and offensive event is one of many that occur at UCI and other college campuses, of which Greek organizations and other campus organizations are often the cause of, and condemns its repeated occurrence year after year and;  


Let it finally be resolved that ASUCI Legislative Council calls upon Phi Gamma Delta to make amends for its actions that have harmed UCI students leading up to, during, and following its “FIJI Islander Party” event by issuing an apology to the harmed communities and the UCI community at large, and taking proactive actions to educate itself and other students on the actual issues that face Fijians and other Pacific Islanders.

Let it further be resolved that ASUCI Legislative Council create an ad-hoc committee that will follow up with the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and Interfraternity Council and campus staff and administrators before the end of the academic year to see to that these concerns and recommendations are heard and addressed and; 

Let it further be resolved that ASUCI Legislative Council recognizes that silence or inaction on the part of associated campus bodies including the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, Interfraternity Council, Greek President’s Council, Greek Life, Student Life and Leadership, and Student Affairs, would reinforce the racism against, dismissal of, and silencing of Fijian and Pacific Islander student voices.


Referred to: Committee on:
Vote Required: Majority FINAL VOTE: Passed YEA: 14 NAY: 0  ABS: 1
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Executive Vice President, ASUCI      Verification of Executive Cabinet