- The Washington Times
Saturday, April 9, 2016

Every year Dartmouth College’s Kappa Delta Epsilon (KDE) sorority hosts a Kentucky Derby-themed party in the spring, but this year, the sorority cancelled those plans after students claimed the soiree was racist.

The sorority traditionally held the invite-only party the same weekend as the famous Kentucky Derby horse race. 

In 2015, a group of campus Black Lives Matter protestors rallied outside the party, calling the event racist and elitist, and accusing the sorority of “recreating an Antebellum South atmosphere on the Ivy league campus,” The College Fix reported

Protesters held signs declaring “black rage” and repeated chants of “What is Derby? It’s the face of genocide,” and “What is Derby? It’s the face of police brutality.” 

Now, according to campus newspaper The Dartmouth, the sorority has voted to rebrand the party, changing the theme from Kentucky Derby to Woodstock. 

Nikol Oydanich, KDE vice president, said that after speaking to last year’s protesters and other individuals in the Afro-American Society, the sorority decided to change its theme because of its “racial connotations.” 

“[It is] related to pre-war southern culture,” she told The Dartmouth. “Derby was a party that had the power to upset a lot of our classmates.” 

“We realized that if anyone on campus felt uncomfortable or upset with the theme, then we obviously shouldn’t have it,” said KDE social chair Jehanna Axelrod.

The first Kentucky Derby horse race was held in 1875, 10 years after the Civil War ended. 

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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