NYU fraternity Gamma Phi Zeta held an historically accurate reenactment of the Columbian Exchange this past weekend in honor of Columbus Day. The simulation came less than a week after a UCLA frat threw a Kanye West-themed party in which some partygoers wore blackface.
The reenactment starred the frat’s president as Christopher Columbus, with the vice president acting as his first mate. Freshmen pledges, some playing women, filled the role of the Native Americans who first encountered the European explorers in 1492 on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, much to their misfortune.
Reports from reenactment attendees describe initially friendly interactions between the groups, with some of the explorers becoming friendly with the “female” Native Americans and giving them gifts of blankets. Things quickly turned horrific as several brothers from another frat joined the reenactment and began to commit terrible acts of violence against the freshmen pledges. Said one attendee, “I know they wanted to go bigger than the blackface thing at UCLA, but reintroducting extinct viruses to the general population seems a bit much.”
Gamma Phi Zeta is now raising money to support those injured during the reenactment, with a special fund for five pledges currently being hospitalized for smallpox.