Letter to the editor

In regard to Pi Kappa Phi’s “Phi-esta”

Fellow Trojans,

On behalf of the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, I would like to apologize for the insensitive statements made on the Facebook event description for our “Phiesta.”

We recognize that these statements were offensive and we want to take full accountability for the insensitivity of our actions. The statements made were not only offensive to Latinos and Hispanics, but to everyone in the Trojan Family. The brothers of Pi Kappa Phi recognize that our actions are unbecoming of the values of the Trojan community, and that, furthermore, our actions represent this university, as well as our national fraternity and Greek Life as a whole. We deeply regret having misrepresented our national fraternity and USC in this manner. Additionally, I would like to mention and thank USC Junior Melissa Morales, who, in writing a thoughtful letter to the Daily Trojan that accurately criticized our insensitivity, embodied the Trojan values of sticking to one’s beliefs.

The statements made in the event description do not reflect the beliefs or values of the Delta Rho Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi. We are a brotherhood that deeply values our diversity and we will continue to be a brotherhood for men of all races and ethnicities. The individuals who were responsible for the Facebook event and the insensitive statements are being held responsible and will be facing expulsion from the fraternity. It is my hope that these individuals, and all of my brothers, will use this opportunity to grow as human beings.

Again, I would like to sincerely apologize on behalf of my brothers at Pi Kappa Phi. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If anyone wishes to contact us further, please do not hesitate.

Spencer Weissberg

President, Pi Kappa Phi


43 replies
  1. thetakat
    thetakat says:

    Pi Kappa Phi is one of the most reckless fraternities on the row. They continuously push the boundaries and are bound for steep sanctions in the very near future.

    In response to the comments above, they have are ranked 20th out of the 24 fraternities recognized by the USC IFC. This shows a complete lack of organization by their executive board who is allowing such blatant lies about their academics and social standings. They selflessly promote themselves as a “top house”, when they are nothing but a lower tier organization with absolutely no emphasis on academics. They truly are “faking it ’til they make it”, which obviously is not working.

      • hypocrite
        hypocrite says:

        I find it ironic that you blame the “frat boys” for their insensitivity when you yourself assume that only Latinos are fit to clean your fountain.

        • Tgoi
          Tgoi says:

          I am Latino and I have spoken with the grounds people in front of Doheny several times, in Spanish! Are you suggesting they don’t clean the fountain? Only Gringos clean the fountain? Is that what you are saying?

  2. Concerned citizen
    Concerned citizen says:

    Who’s the concerned bible thumping mom? I’m sure your son is not well respected because he sounds like a straight pussy. If by “top house” you mean the lamest house on the row with the highest gpa you might be right.

    • USC Mom w/ Greek Son
      USC Mom w/ Greek Son says:

      It is truly sad that you feel compelled to attack me and my son for our beliefs. The fact that my son is in the top house, has a near perfect GPA and does not drink or do drugs obviously bothers you. I can only assume your relationship with your parents is not as close as ours. Maybe your grades are not so stellar and you can only find relationships after she has had enough liquor to tolerate your inadequacies. I hope as you age, you grow as a man and find peace in the Lord.

      Despite your attack on our family, we will all pray for you.

      God Bless and yes, we forgive you!

      • bob
        bob says:

        USC Mom, you might want to stop being so self righteous.

        First off, there is no such thing as “the top house”; there are a number of houses who perform better than others on a number of criteria, but because everyone is different, and diverse, and that there are different criteria to judge what is good, different houses can claim a top spot. So please stop telling us about how much better than everyone else your son and his house are. Oh, and if you mean AGO, then you’re just fully delusional.

        Second, you might believe that the only way to be an upstanding citizen is to pray constantly, not drink, and refrain from hanging out with “licentious women” — well, that really is a minority opinion. So please, again, enough with the self-righteousness. Extremists and patronizing statements like yours are why no one will ever take you (or your perfect son) seriously.

        Finally, since you brought up the fence put up by your suposedly-good-buddy Nikias, could it be that the administration is putting up that fence for the sole purpose of distracting attention from the fact that the shooting would never have occurred, had Michael Jackson not have expressly approved a party that had such obvious potential for degenerating? USC invited outsiders to a halloween party, that is why there was a problem. Perhaps Nikias and his administration should take some responsibility for their mistake rather than putting up a useless fence that will do nothing but further isolate USC from the community and strengthen the ‘spoiled children’ image of the school.

        PS: nobody cares if you forgive us, especially when there is nothing to be forgiven to start with. you troll on this board with extremist, patronizing statements, you should expect people to voice disagreement

        • USC Mom w/ Greek Son
          USC Mom w/ Greek Son says:

          Throw your stones but know we are protected by his shield and forgive you for your wickedness upon us

          There is one “top house” and everyone knows who it is except apparently you. It is not a religious fraternity but a true social fraternity with a long history at USC. My son happens to be member of this fraternity while maintaining his christian ethics and morals. I’ll agree that not all his fellow members are exceptional students nor do they live in a manner that he or I approve of. He and others whom have seen the Light within the fraternity are working hard to change the membership in his fraternity for the better while maintaining its current top fraternity status. This is one of the reasons he has taken upon himself to minster to the other fraternity members who’s hearts and minds are still open to the Truth.

          The row can be a place of great sin and temptation of the flesh. I have heard many stories of sorority girls who given their bodies to strange boys to fill the void in their hearts. It doesn’t have to be this way and you can recover your dignity through virtue and study of the Truth. I hope these fallen girls correct their paths before damnation scorches their souls.

          Once again someone feels the need to attack Mr. Jackson when he has nothing to do with this discussion. He is a man of honor and integrity of which you will likely never achieve nor understand.

          President Nikias is a brilliant and visionary leader of USC whom you should show more respect. Fencing the campus was long overdue and thankfully he had the grit and determination to overcome the naysayers like yourself. He does this despite your foolishness and wickedness.

          We pray for all, including you!

          We forgive all, including you!

          God Bless!

  3. Teague
    Teague says:

    Things on the row definitely need to change. I had to drop my frat as they were completely out of control. It was the best thing for me as I needed to focus on my business. Now as an alumni, my business is kicking hard. From what I hear, the row is falling apart and hurting the reputation of USC. This needs to change, now! I hope SC steps in and closes the worst offenders down.

  4. Zooey
    Zooey says:

    Trojan Family,

    Puhleeze! As a third generation Trojan alumnus complete with Fighting Methodist forebears), I ask: Are you kidding? 28th Street, AKA “The Row” has been and remains notorious for everything from gang rape to felony assault and back again to this, their, racism. Now that a notorious enabler like “Dr.” Michael Jackson is retiring; would it not be a good time for a re-thinking (operative term: Think) the benefit of 28th St. to USC’s future? Today the “Row” represents less than 3% of the total undergraduate student body and less than 1% of the total student population of University Park. Add HSC and the numbers speak for themselves.

    Heck! My mom and dad, during WWII, were the presidents of their respective houses: Theta and Delt respectively. Evolution, being what it is, we should all demand that this continued form of ignorance, cease. Else, we all become the laughing stock of our peers in this nation of great, public and private, university students and alumni.

    Apologies, notwithstanding, the time for action is now. I leave it to you, my Trojan family to decide.

    Fight On!

    • another USC parent
      another USC parent says:

      Yes, USC is a family, but for some time the Trojan family has been a dysfunctional family. The Trojan “parents” seem to be working hard to better their family and develop a first rate reputation, while seemingly oblivious to their kids behavior. A small, but vocal, core seem to be playing “Lord of the Flies” far too seriously, and once again near and distant neighbors have taken note.

      USC has deservedly made national news for an unsavory social atmosphere and Greek student behavior regarding the Phi-esta incident. At least the weekend is soon upon us and the campus c focus can shift away from Phi-esta, probably to the USC Hookup page. It will really be an interesting online read when our neighbors near and far come across that and comment on us!

    • You are the problem
      You are the problem says:

      Do you read the things you post? Jesus christ this whole thing is so blown out of proportion it’s ridiculous. You’re going to use this stupid letter that revolves around one Facebook post that offended someone to put the entire row into one group? If you want to talk about the benefit of 28th St to USC’s future, don’t base the whole discussion around a stupid Facebook post from an irrelevant house. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the row has its issues, but, like most things, the vast majority of these problems arise from a small portion of the population. The problem with USC is not the row, it’s the few idiots who inexplicably get in here and give the rest of us a bad name, Greek or otherwise. What if this had been a house party completely unrelated to the row? Come to think of it, I bet there are offensive themes and happenings at all sorts of parties, not just Greek ones.

      Gang rape? Felony assault? Maybe from locals but have you been on 28th St lately? Keep things in perspective babe, someone had an idea for a party that was offensive, end of story. Also, less than 3% of the undergraduate population? USC’s own website says that over 3,500 students are greek, which puts that number right around 20%. It is unbelievably ignorant of you to judge such a large part of your own Trojan Family to be lazy, racist, walking PR problems for the school. Get your facts straight before you post such pretentious generalizations and insult a fifth of the undergraduate population.

      You did get one thing right though Zooey. The continued ignorance must cease. The ignorance of people who are not involved with Greek life, have no idea what it’s actually about, and form opinions about it based solely off negative headlines they see. If that’s your opinion and you’re sticking to it, good for you, but next time keep your uninformed views to yourself.

      • another USC parent
        another USC parent says:

        I appreciate your outrage, but it is misdirected at me. Do a search of “USC racism” or “USC Betches” or USC Playboy party school or FB USC Hookups, just for example. The most troubling social behaviors are displayed by a minority to be sure, but they keep happening. Why do so few other top 25 schools have such negative headlines regarding their social climate?

        If headlines are made solely by the minority as you say, where is the pushback by the majority? Where is the wellspring of the many over the years establishing a more laudable social norm such as you might find at Yale or Stanford? You can substitute the Phi-esta headline for some from 5 years ago. Not much has changed.

        Did you read the comments based on one Trojan’s attempt to comment in the DT on the inappropriateness of Phi-esta? She was skewered by many and others recounted equally troubling experiences. There were far fewer, very few, student voices of agreement and support.

        Students have tremendous power to set limits for social behavior. USC students have. You seem to be saying they need to be raised. Do it!

        • USC Mom w/ Greek Son
          USC Mom w/ Greek Son says:

          I hope no one believes Zooey or this self-proclaimed parent represents most parents. Most “real” parents see the row in a different light and don’t assume gang rape is a common occurrence. The Greek system at USC is as strong as ever and many former members have achieved great success in life. Yes, bad things happen but not always on the row! Bad things happen all around SC and that is why President Nikias rightfully closed the campus at night. You notice the row is not fenced off, just the campus.

  5. Give them a break
    Give them a break says:

    Of all the things a frat brother could do to be kicked out of a fraternity, don’t let it be this. Regardless of how someone feels about their actions, it doesn’t make sense to kick them out completely for their “mistake” if they apologize or comply with whatever the “proper” actions are

    • Chip Smothersby
      Chip Smothersby says:

      Yeah, come on guys, it was just a harmless mistake. They all slipped, fell, and accidentally landed in a pile of caricatured Mexican “costumes” and rolled on top of keyboards that were programmed to type only words that reduce a people and their culture to nothing but negative stereotypes. Let us all give them a break and have as much empathy for them as they have for the people they mock and promote racism towards.

  6. burritosareactuallymyfavoritefood
    burritosareactuallymyfavoritefood says:

    Ok while you guys argue over whether or not its ok to dress up as mexicans at a party and whether or not thats offensive, Ill bring up a new issue by addressing the bigger picture here. (Keep in mind that, at its core, what you guys are arguing is merely an ethical debate: a question of whats ethical with no right or wrong answer. Is the ability to have this party a human freedom of expression? who knows? Do we as humans have the right to end lives via death penalty? Who knows?)

    Anyway, the problem here is actually not whats going on in a frat house. Every human’s goal is to be happy, and the pi kapp party attenders had fun. The problem is that Melissa thought they had fun AT HER EXPENSE. Which is a hard argument to make considering that she did not have to go. Melissa intends to convince me, a reader, that, while she was in her appt this night watching TV or w/e, her psychological state was actively being decreased by people raging in sombreros a few blocks away. Everyone does everything they do for happiness, and Melissa’s choice to write out against people that were making her unhappy is no exception.

    As the south park skier meme dude always says, “if you base your happiness on externalities and the actions of others, youre gunna have a bad time.” Despite being comfortable on your appt couch, you let the actions of people in a frat house make you unhappy. Everyone can be defined by many things. Race, religion, looks, skater, guys with pierced ears, skinny jeans, music choice, west coast, east coast, south, midwest, sexual attractions, the list is infinite. Everyone is subject to stereotype humor, but its not harmful unless its actually harmful. Think about it, we have families who are separated and/or killed on behalf of race religion etc. Then, on a MUCH less severe scale we have lebron james, who, because he decided it was a good move for him to change his identity from a Cleveland to a Miami basketball player, was LABELED as a sell-out. He became subject to tons of criticism pointed directly at him, people from akron and cleveland saying they hate him and burning his cavs jerseys, and getting people calling him a sellout all over the media all the time. Just for making a choice he felt was right for his life.

    But he is proud of his identity as a Heat player. I disagree, Melissa, that you are a proud Mexican. By indirectly being affected by something that is a fun event (not intended to hurt feelings) that you can easily escape from by just staying home, you are effected by this criticism towards a facet of your identity MUCH less than lebron’s case, yet it makes you unhappy? Doesnt pride come from within? I dont see how the experience of you and your family doing Mexican heritage culture stuff will be any less significant because of this.

    This is in good fun, and should be laughed at. You will be happier this way. I am 2nd generation Greek American. My mom’s dad was an illegal immigrant that still does not speak english well. Greece is arguably ruining Europe’s economy. Why is it that there is not a single Greek stereotype joke you can make that can offend me at all? The movie, my big fat greek wedding, which is a comedy based entirely of making fun of greek stereotypes, is a shockingly accurate story of my mom’s life, and has been watched and laughed at multiple times by my family.

    If as a Mexican American, a frat party is how racism effects you negitively, it sounds like overall the perks of racism (artificially giving opportunities to people based race alone aka affirmative action) it sounds like overall racism evens out to at least a neutral effect in your life.

  7. Party Still On?
    Party Still On? says:

    Obviously with a less controversial theme, right?

    Not really fair to kick anybody out over this so I suggest you rethink. You could have done far worse and been celebrated if you guys were top tier.

    • Jerry
      Jerry says:

      I understand the LA Times is writing an article about this right now. Thanks to Melissa, the whole World will soon know about this story.

      • Kelly
        Kelly says:

        Jerry, where did you hear that the LA Times is writing an article about this? I’m confused because they never even had the party

        • Jerry
          Jerry says:

          A lady who said she was a Times reporter was interviewing people on the row for comments. She asked people if they were planning on attending the “Racist Row Party”. Then she showed people print-outs from a FB page. This was the first time I had heard anything about this story then checked the DT and found this. I also saw Channel 2 and 5 news trucks were parked in the Del Taco parking lot as well. It looks like this is going to get major coverage.

          So you know, I did not offer any comments as I knew nothing about this story at the time. Regardless, I would not attend a racist party anyway!

  8. USC Mom w/ Greek Son
    USC Mom w/ Greek Son says:

    I appreciate the apology being offered by Spencer, the Phi Kappa Phi president. It sounds sincere and I believe those like Melissa and others truly offended should turn the other cheek and move on. I’m afraid this situation and other similar bad behavior has brought considerable shame to USC and the Greek system. I want to point out that not all men in the Greek system share in the blame for this and other unfortunate stories. Young men like my son who has been a member of the top fraternity at USC for 3 years. Along with maintaining a stellar GPA for all three years, he does not participate in any alcohol or drug use. Further, he abstains from the many licentious women that frequent the row. He ministers weekly to his fraternity brothers and has brought many of them back into the Light of the Lord. I hope that situations like this one do not tarnish the reputation of the many other young men like my son that honor still exists in the Greek system. I ask that everyone look past this particular fraternities failings and see the many qualities that do continue to exist on the row among quality young men in better fraternities.

    God Bless Spencer!

    • Top house?
      Top house? says:

      What is this singular top fraternity you speak of? One of the blonde hair, blue eye’d orange county bro frats? That must be what you speak one…

      • USC Mom w/ Greek Son
        USC Mom w/ Greek Son says:

        It is not important that I identify what everyone apparently already knows about my son’s fraternity. Likely just by my description many in the better fraternities and sororities already know my son. He is apparent well liked and respected among his peers.

        I want to correct something about what I wrote before. I need to apologize to the Phi Kappa fraternity (if there is one). I meant to say the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity which is the actual fraternity that is apologizing for something or other. It was not until I saw a news report on the channel 5 newscast earlier today that I realized my error. Pi Kappa Phi is the old sorority house on the corner of 28th and University. Does anyone find it odd that a fraternity occupies a sorority house? Other than the landscaping being in disrepair, i still expect to see girls in long dresses singing songs to potential pledges during rush. I would think the boys would make their house look more masculine.

        I am sorry to hear their national fraternity or the university has apparently stepped in to manage them after this.

        God Bless!

        • LOL
          LOL says:

          Boy, everything you write is misinformed. Literally everything you have written is wrong. I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry.

          • USC Mom w/ Greek Son
            USC Mom w/ Greek Son says:

            Mr. or Mrs LOL,

            I love how you give no details about what I have apparently written being wrong. I have you know I have had several calls with Greek Life and President Nikias staff since this story occurred a few days ago. These calls where not specifically about this situation but I am deeply involved in the University, fundraising and generally and what goes on around campus. This story was discussed and I was given specific information by staff. Please tell me how I have been misinformed by University staff so I might correct them, if necessary.

            And for that person above that apparently felt necessary to bad-mouth one of the most kind and generous African American gentlemen working at SC, you should be
            ashamed. Mr. Jackson is not retiring but taking on new and more important role that includes many new challenges to make SC even better. If his “enabling” is problem for you, then you have no idea what he accomplished in his role and you have no business enjoying the fruits of his success (USC now being a top Academic Institution)!

            Regardless, God Bless all!

  9. Tgoi
    Tgoi says:

    Not good enough! This frat needs to be shut down for good! You can’t apologize away the inherit racism that persists in frats like this one. Expel them all and raze the building so that a park can be created for the benefit of all!

  10. Setting the record straight
    Setting the record straight says:

    1. This event was promptly removed from Facebook
    2. It was the work of 2 people (they are personally being held responsible)
    3. The brothers facing expulsion was a decision made within the fraternity
    4. Pi Kapp is a very diverse fraternity.
    5. To assume all negative comments made on Melissa Morales article came from a brother of Pi Kappa Phi is ridiculous.

  11. another USC parent
    another USC parent says:

    Hey Spencer,

    How many members will be expelled? Did Pi Kappa Phi arrive at the decision to expel members and write this letter completely independently or with input from the administration? There were many comments directed to Ms. Morales from quite a number of individuals which I presume were authored by members of other houses. This incident, along with the USC FB Hookup page, expose significant attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that damage both personal and the university’s reputation.

    It seems time for careful reflection about what the majority want the character and identity of USC
    to be–(1) rising elite university or (2) University of Spoiled Children and 2013 Playboy #1 Party School having been #2 in 2012. It is doubtful USC can be both. This may be a great time for all–Greeks, GDI’s, faculty, staff and admins to begin a dialogue, reach a consensus and actively work together to support one direction or the other.

  12. Trojan alum '12
    Trojan alum '12 says:

    Thank you so much for posting this letter’; it’s definitely a step in the right direction. I’m still a bit confused though, does this mean the party is cancelled? The description is changed? The theme is changed? Or was this just an apology letter at face value?

  13. A Job Well Done
    A Job Well Done says:

    Dear Spencer,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful and eloquent letter. I know the recent events ware probably not easy to deal with, but you have done a great job in handling the matter. Kudos to you and your brothers.

    See you on the Row.

  14. Interesting
    Interesting says:

    As a Latino, I can’t say I can speak for all Latinos and Hispanics, but the event was aimed at Mexican Culture, yet in this apology, you’ve stretched that culture to encompass ALL types of Latinos and Hispanics.

    I’m not being THAT guy that says it’s not good enough and is being nitpicky, because I commend this letter. It’s just something I felt I should point out.

    In the end though, this is a very mature and responsible way to handle the situation that was risen.

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