Yesterday I wrote a quick email to my alma mater asking why Penn President Amy Guttman took a picture with a person dressed as a suicide bomber. Here was the response (though I still don't buy the excuse):
Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns about the
photographs taken at President Gutmann's Halloween party.
Each year, the President hosts a Halloween party for Penn students.
More than 700 students attend. They all crowd around the President to have
their picture taken with her. This year, one student who had a toy gun in
hand had his picture taken with the President before it was obvious to her that
he was dressed as a suicide bomber. He posted the photo on a website and
it was picked up on several other websites.
The costume is clearly offensive and President Gutmann was offended by
it. As soon as she realized what his costume was, she refused to take any
more pictures with him, as he requested. The student had the right to wear
the costume just as she, and others, have a right to criticize his wearing
Associate Secretary of the University
University of Pennsylvania
211 College Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104