Md. university asked students to change plans for America-themed senior party

- Loyola University Maryland is facing backlash after administrators tried to get students to change an "America"-themed senior event.

The theme of the event, “Party in the U.S.A,” was chosen months ago for an annual costume party for seniors that happened on Friday. While the event went on as planned, it wasn't without controversy.

After the election, some Loyola administrators thought the party could end up dividing students and urged the student government to change the theme.

"Prior to the event, Loyola leadership contacted the Loyola Student Government Association (SGA) after learning some students and faculty expressed concern that there would be costumes that would be offensive--especially troubling at a time when so many are feeling anxious and uncertain," said Loyola University Maryland Nick Alexopulos in a statement.

He also said administrators contacted SGA to recommend reconsidering the timing of the theme "and if they chose to keep the theme, consider a plan to ensure it would be welcoming to all in attendance."

FOX 5 spoke to students who said they felt there was no reason for controversy surrounding the event.

"I think the theme was meant to bring everyone together," said Matthew Tarantino, a Loyola junior. "And the fact Trump won the election, I think it kind of threw them all off. And I think if Hillary had won, there wouldn't have been all this controversy surrounding it."

"It's your country – there's nothing wrong with that being the theme," said Emily Demeo, also a junior. "It was chosen over the summer before the election."

Seniors who attended the party Friday said everyone was respectful.

"The party was really great," said senior Shannon Ferrara. "We ended up having a really good time. Everybody really enjoyed the theme."

She said while the theme was perfectly fine, she understands why the school was cautious.

"I think they were definitely trying to be proactive rather than reactive and try to avoid any issues before they came about instead of possibly leaving it up to chance and then having to deal with it after," Ferrara said.

The statement from Loyola, which is a private Jesuit university, goes on to say, "We continue to work as a university to ensure all student viewpoints are respected and heard, and we hope students continue to find ways to have constructive dialogue around the most important issues of our time."

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