The German Club's annual Midwinter's Dance has been a tradition for over 100 years, but this year's dance was surrounded by controversy after several students were offended by the theme. Jordan DeDona, co-Midwinter's chair, said the dispute centers over the title of the annual dance, which was Midwinter 2006: Tour Through the Orient. The German Club thoroughly researched the term and asked some of their Asian members for an opinion of whether it was controversial or not, said Paul Landers, co-Midwinter's chair and senior engineering major. The committee came to the conclusion that the word Orient referred to a region and felt that it would be appropriate to proceed with the plans, said Sumeet Bagai, German Club member and SGA president. According to Jennel Baltazar, a civil engineering major, the term Orient and Oriental are seen as derogatory, especially to those of Asian-Pacific decent. This is a touchy subject among Asian-Pacific Americans and the subject should not be taken lightly, said Baltazar. There are so many different cultures and ethnicities from Asia that it just seems wrong to lump everything into one big 'Oriental' category. To discuss the issue, the Asian American Student Union called an emergency meeting on Feb. 3 to discuss grievances. Present at the meeting were four German Club members including DeDona, Bagai, Alan Campbell, German Club leader and senior foreign languages major, Kevin Troxell, president and senior finance, insurance, and business law major, and about 60 other students, said DeDona. At the meeting, it seemed like there was a sense that most of the students were not familiar with the term being derogatory, Bagai said. The concerned students provided some education on the matter. Outside of the meeting, the German Club wasn't contacted by anyone else, but it did meet with Ben Dixon, vice president for multicultural affairs. The dance was held as scheduled with no changes to the name. Students set up a table outside of the dance handing out flyers that educated people about the terms, said Baltazar. The students were polite and did not interfere with the dance, said DeDona. "I would like to apologize to anyone that was offended. I think everyone understands and I can assure you that there was no intention of offending anyone, Landers said. We did our part to conduct research and have found this to be a great learning experience." Use of the word Orient was not the only factor that upset some students. The décor of the dance held in Squires Colonial Hall Saturday, Feb. 4 was also a concern. Images of the Buddha, sumo wrestlers, people performing karate, the Hokie Bird dressed as a samurai, and chopsticks in people's hair were some of the things that offended students, said Shalin Basnayake, a senior ACIS and sociology major concerned with the event. Basically, what we tried to do was have each chairman design a wall in Squires with aspects of specific countries/regions, Landers said. To fund the Midwinter's Dance, the German Club sells programs during the football games, but this does not cover the cost of the event. The club never makes any money off of the dance, said Landers. The university is actually our organization's philanthropy, Bagai said. There is no money that can be given away as charity. The dance is a non-profit event that the organization holds for the university every year, added Landers. There is currently an effort to plan education workshops with different professors, said Sanda Chelliah, senior biological sciences major. There is also some concern over the lack of a diverse faculty and student body. How the situation played out is a great example of how students are embracing community at Tech, Bagai said. It's a prime example of the community in action and I have the utmost respect for the students who were concerned. Landers said that members of the club were interested in attending any educational sessions or workshops. For Chelliah, however, the German Club should go a step farther. Apologies are irrelevant at this point, said Chelliah. The appropriate action would be to take the money which the German Club made off of exploiting Asians during the Midwinter's Dance and give the sum to our university's Asian Studies program. This would help educate the campus, ensuring such events never occur again. http://www.collegiatetimes.com/news...-16.html?sid=f11455bd1d23b2ea0e15a6ba377a5acc ---- And after this, they are heading to Hunan Oriental Restaurant to protest there and get a cut a cut of the receipts for the last year or so. It's all about the Benjamins. Nothing more.